Khalid Payenda, Afghanistan’s Finance Minister, previously controlled and presented a $6 billion budget in Kabul, is now a driver for Uber in Washington to support his family.
In an interview with The Washington Post, he stated that he earned “a little over $150 for six hours of labour, not including my commute.”
Afghanistan is in the midst of a financial and humanitarian catastrophe, with many countries around the world hesitating to recognise the Taliban government, which deposed the US-backed regime.
Due to strained relations with Prime Minister Ashraf Ghani, Payenda resigned as the country’s Finance Minister a week before the Taliban took control of the capital city.
“Today I stepped down as the Acting Minister of Finance,” he tweeted on August 10. Although leading MoF was the greatest honour of my life, it was time for me to step down in order to focus on personal matters.” Because he was afraid of being jailed by the authorities, he fled Afghanistan and joined his family in the United States of America.
Today I stepped down as the Acting Minister of Finance. Leading MoF was the greatest honor of my life but it was time to step down to attend to personal priorities. I’ve put Mr. Alem Shah Ibrahimi, Deputy Minister for Revenue & Customs in charge until a new Minister is appointed.— Khalid Payenda (@KhalidPayenda) August 10, 2021
Moving was “quite an adjustment,” he said in an interview with The Washington Post, but he was pleased to be able to help his family in any way he could. He also said that the United States of America is to blame for Afghanistan’s current state, claiming that troop withdrawals allowed the Taliban to seize control.
On the day the capital fell, he texted a World Bank official in Kabul, saying, “We had 20 years and the entire world’s assistance to establish a system that would work for the people… All we created was a house of cards that came falling down so quickly. According to The Washington Post, “a house of cards constructed on the foundation of corruption.”
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