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An Economic Catastrophe in Afghanistan

The Daily

The New York Times

News, Daily News

4.597.8K Ratings

🗓️ 15 December 2021

⏱️ 27 minutes

🧾️ Download transcript


The economic situation in Afghanistan is perilous. Banks have run out of cash. In some areas, Afghans are selling their belongings in ad hoc flea markets. Parents wait around hospitals and clinics in the hopes of getting treatment for severely malnourished children. We hear about what the unfolding crisis looks like on the ground, why the economy has deteriorated so quickly, and what role the United States has played. Guest: Christina Goldbaum, a correspondent for The New York Times, based in Kabul.

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From New York Times, I'm Michael Bavaro. This is it, A. Lee.


Today, the economy in Afghanistan is collapsing. Prompting the United Nations to warn that the


country is at risk of, quote, total breakdown.


My colleague, Christina Golbeau, traveled to Afghanistan to witness the crisis firsthand,


and understand the unique role that the United States has played in creating it.


It's Wednesday, December 15th.


Christina, I know that all of our colleagues in Afghanistan were evacuated when the country


fell to the Taliban a few months ago. So how exactly did you do this reporting?


Yeah. So when the Taliban took over, we rushed to evacuate from the country because no one knew


what was going to happen. And from late August, in a September, I was talking to friends and


sources who were still in Afghanistan to figure out what was going on in the country now.


And what a lot of aid workers were telling me was that just in the couple of weeks,


since the Taliban seized power, the economic situation had become pretty dire.


One humanitarian worker was telling me how what we were seeing in Afghanistan was the kind of collapse


you might see in the course of 10 years of a civil war in a country,


happened in the matter of weeks. And so I was eager to get back to Afghanistan and be able to see


firsthand what exactly was going on. So I flew at the beginning of October to Uzbekistan


and drove across the border into Afghanistan to be able to begin reporting on what does


Afghanistan look like under Taliban control? And once you arrived, what did you see?


So I arrived in this town, Mazar-a-Sharif, which used to be the economic hub for Northern


Afghanistan. And around 7 a.m., I went to a bank at the center of town where dozens of guys had


gathered outside, kind of clamoring to get inside this bank.


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