Afghan banks near collapse

The re-emergence of Taliban rule has triggered the departure of thousands of highly skilled Afghans from what is already one of the world’s most under-developed nations.

As the insurgents continue to tighten their grip, people with “a wealth of skills and experience” are “joining a brain drain of such grave proportions that even the Taliban, faced with running one of the world’s poorest countries, has taken notice with dismay”, said the Los Angeles Times.

“The exodus of talent further erases what little gains were made in America’s 20-year experiment in nation building,” the paper added. And as Foreign Policy noted, the Taliban’s repressive regime is driving out “the very people they need to make the country governable”.

‘Losing the best’

Many of the fleeing Afghans are “former government employees, human rights activists, journalists, and other architects of civil society” who along with their families are now facing “nearly unprecedented danger”, Foreign Policy said.

As Taliban soldiers continue to go door-to-door in search of those who worked alongside US and Nato forces, Afghanistan risks “losing the best” of its highly educated and skilled workforce, Alias Wardak, a senior adviser on energy and water to the Afghan Finance Ministry, told the Los Angeles Times.

Wardak is based in Germany but has “set up a six-person team of facilitators” who are helping hundreds of Afghans every day to “fill out and submit immigration forms”, the paper added.

“If someone calls you and there’s an opportunity [to leave], we’re not in a position to convince them to stay,” he said. “But on the other hand, what will happen to this country? Who will work in the administration? In the private sector?

“They will go to the West. Their family will be safe and they will have their life.”

‘Loss of human capital’

Women in Afghanistan are reportedly “burning their degree certificates” to avoid being targeted by the Taliban, said The Atlantic.

The Telegraph reported that amid efforts by the extremists to stop “skilled and qualified Afghans, particularly women, from returning to their jobs”, thousands of Afghans of both sexes are believed to be “waiting, some in hiding, for their visas to be processed to leave Afghanistan”.

Some “have spoken of their despair at being forced to stay in the country by the Taliban”, the paper added.

Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban’s chief spokesperson, has blamed the US for encouraging “Afghan experts” to leave. “The doctors and academics of Afghanistan should not leave this country, they should work in their own specialist areas,” he said last month.

In a country where “the rate of literacy is still 43%, and only 9.7% of the population continues their education beyond secondary school”, the loss of many of the “best and brightest” in the labour force “is a colossal loss of human capital”, said The Telegraph.


To read the full article: