Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid speaks at a press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan, September 21, 2021. The new interim government in Afghanistan has appointed the remaining ministers and members, the door said on Tuesday. -speak of the Taliban, Zabihullah Mujahid. “The new cabinet members are professional figures, including doctors and highly educated people, also from minorities,” Mujahid told reporters at a press conference. XINHUA PHOTO

KANDAHAR: Afghan Taliban officials said they had started paying government employees who had not received paychecks since the Islamists took power and triggered a major financial crisis.

Most government workers have yet to return to work, and many had not been paid for months before the Taliban even took power, especially rural workers.

“We will start paying salaries from today. We will pay three months’ salaries,” Ahmad Wali Haqmal, spokesman for the Ministry of Finance, told a press conference.

Haqmal said salaries will be paid for the period starting August 23, adding that some government employees will be paid even for the month before the Taliban come to power.

Payment will be made through the country’s banking system, which Haqmal said had not been “crippled” since the fall of the previous government.

“It just needs time to function normally,” he said. Government employees will still not be able to access their full pay.

Since August, the Afghan banking sector has collapsed and those with cash in the bank have struggled to access their funds as branches have reduced withdrawals to $ 200 to $ 400 per week.

The financial crisis worsened after Washington froze around $ 10 billion in assets held in its reserve for Kabul and deteriorated further after the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund cut off access to the Afghanistan funding.

U.S.-led foreign donors provided more than 75 percent of public spending under the Washington-backed Afghan government for 20 years.

The rapidly worsening situation forced Afghans to sell their household items to raise funds for food and other essentials with the local currency plummeting and prices soaring.

Meraj Mohammad Meraj, spokesperson for the government’s revenue department, said authorities were able to pay salaries after earning 26 billion Afghans (about $ 277 million) in the past two and a half months.

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