Afghanistan’s former finance minister is now Uber driver in Washington DC | Afghanistan

Times right before Afghanistan fell to the Taliban final August, Ashraf Ghani, the Afghan president, was “welcomed” to the United Arab Emirates. He was alleged to have taken with him $169m, from his country’s treasury.

Six months on, Khalid Payenda, as soon as Ghani’s finance minister, is driving an Uber in Washington DC.

“If I entire 50 journeys in the subsequent two times, I obtain a $95 reward,” Payenda informed the Washington Put up, from at the rear of the wheel of a Honda Accord.

The 40-12 months-outdated after oversaw a US-supported $6bn spending budget. The Post noted that in a person evening before this week, he manufactured “a minimal around $150 for six hours’ work, not counting his commute – a mediocre night”.

The Write-up recorded Payenda telling a person passenger his transfer from Kabul to Washington experienced been “quite an adjustment”.

He also mentioned he was grateful for the option to be equipped to assistance his spouse and children but, “right now, I really don’t have any put. I never belong in this article and I really do not belong there. It is a pretty vacant feeling.”

Afghanistan faces a humanitarian and financial disaster, assets frozen and minimize off from international assist that would demand recognition of the Taliban authorities which changed the US-supported routine.

The Write-up explained Payenda’s working experience in late 2020, when his mom died of Covid-19 in an impoverished Kabul medical center. He turned finance minister just after that. The Put up mentioned he now wished he had not.

“I noticed a large amount of ugliness, and we failed,” he said. “I was portion of the failure. It is challenging when you seem at the misery of the people today and you truly feel liable.”

Payenda explained to the Post he believed Afghans “didn’t have the collective will to reform, to be serious”. But he also explained the US betrayed its commitment to democracy and human rights following making Afghanistan a centerpiece of post-9/11 policy.

“Maybe there were being superior intentions originally but the United States almost certainly did not imply this,” Payenda mentioned.

Payenda resigned as finance minister a 7 days right before the Taliban seized Kabul, as his romantic relationship with Ghani deteriorated. Fearing the president would have him arrested, he left for the US, exactly where he joined his spouse and children.

“We had 20 yrs and the complete world’s support to create a method that would work for the folks,” Payenda explained in a text message to a Environment Financial institution formal in Kabul on the day the capital fell, quoted by the Write-up.

“All we crafted was a home of playing cards that came down crashing this rapid. A house of cards constructed on the foundation of corruption.”

Simonne Stigall

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