A woman hands out bread to young people in need in front of a bakery in Kabul, Afghanistan, in September 2021. | Bulent Kilic/AFP via Getty Images

Almost a year after Kabul’s fall and the US’s withdrawal, the economy remains in free fall, and the country faces a near-constant humanitarian disaster.

The markets in Kabul have food, but few can afford it. A sack of flour can cost about $30. Businesses struggle to get materials because of lack of access to bank accounts or foreign currency. Teachers and government workers weren’t getting paid, and even if those salaries have resumed, incomes are lower. People sell furniture and silverware for cash. They also sell their kidneys.

This is Afghanistan in the months after the Taliban marched into Kabul, the Afghan government fell, and the United States withdrew. America’s 20-year war ended, but another crisis replaced it: economic collapse. This was brought on by the near-instant evaporation of billions of dollars in foreign aid, sanctions on Taliban leaders, and the US’s freezing of Afghanistan’s foreign currency reserves. A severe drought, the Taliban’s struggles to govern, and now the global shocks from the Ukraine war have pushed Afghanistan toward humanitarian catastrophe.

On Wednesday, a 5.9 magnitude earthquake hit the southeastern part of the country, killing about 1,000 people and injuring at least 1,500 more, according to a state-run news agency. The quake hit a rural, poor region near the Pakistan border, another humanitarian crisis for the country to face. Afghanistan’s diplomatic missions called for more foreign aid to help respond to the disaster.

Sardar Shafaq/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images An elder reacts to the devastation outside his home in the Khost province of Afghanistan, after a 5.9 magnitude earthquake struck at noon on June 22.

But Afghanistan is already depending on humanitarian assistance to stave off crisis after crisis....

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