When the Taliban took power last August, the United States immediately imposed sanctions on their government, which made it difficult to send money into the country. Some exceptions have been made for aid, but the freezing of billions of dollars of state assets in foreign banks has caused Afghans to lose access to their savings and contributed to the country’s economic collapse.
As the Taliban have tightened their draconian rule, especially with regard to women’s rights, the situation has worsened. Women are barely able to work. They are so watched if they leave their homes, running businesses and going out to sell their wares in markets is now virtually impossible. Whatever economy was struggling, they were cut off.
For Ramadan, the Taliban made a rare exception and allowed women to have their own market. Roya Hafizi founded the Women’s Chamber of Commerce five years ago. She represents a whole generation of female small business owners, now locked in their homes most of the time.
Roya Hafizi, Women’s Chamber of Commerce of Afghanistan (via translator): We have witnessed a political revolution in our country, where all the achievements, all the gains of the past 20 years now seem like a lie . They disappeared.