Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Recommended Reads

The Silent Erosion of Afghanistan’s Urban Middle Class: A Neglected Crisis 

< 1 min

The Diplomat, 24 February 2024

An interesting analysis by Lutfi Rahimi, of Biruni Institute, looking at an indeed overlooked crisis in the wake of the Taleban’s second rise to power. Based on 200 interviews, he comes to the conclusion that of Afghanistan’s urban middle class “had to cope with radical institutional changes and persistent economic shocks since the Taliban takeover in August 2021” and that it has “been historically less resilient in the face of political and security crises when compared to rural residents” – and this despite the fact that, as he states elsewhere in this article – Afghanistan’s rural population was more than three times as “multidimensionally poor in 2016-17” (over 60 versus 18.1 per cent) than the urban population. 

He gives as reasons: the (often forced) migration of educated Afghans out of government or public sector jobs and resulting un- and underemployment; the closure of much of the education system; “the Taliban’s extractive attitude toward the private sector”; an anti-liberal “shift in social norms and etiquettes”; and their “losing battle to preserve their basic rights and freedoms.”