Afghan restaurant sales plummet 80% after Taliban takeover, leaving owner to worry about his future

  • A Kabul restaurant owner says the Taliban takeover left him hopeless.
  • Sales fell by 80% at Mojeburahman Musleh’s establishment, the Laziz Mahal restaurant.
  • Afghanistan residents have reduced purchasing power and cannot afford to eat out, he told Insider.

Until three months ago, sales were steadily increasing at Laziz Mahal, a newly renovated fast food restaurant in the Afghan capital, Kabul.

Then the The Taliban have taken the capital.

Restaurant owner Mojeburahman Musleh told Insider that he is now struggling to keep his business going. He said the regime made everything worse and “everything looks bleak” for people like him.

Musleh is not alone. Since taliban seized power over Kabul, many Afghans are upset by their future.

“The Laziz Mahal Restaurant has been hit hard by [the] regime change in Kabul, most of our potential customers have left the country and those who [are] let not afford to eat at [the] restaurant,” Musleh told Insider.

He said he used to have regular clients who worked in government institutions and in the private sector. Now they don’t appear as much because the offices in the capital are closed.

His friends also used to eat at his restaurant every day and now they don’t come either. The restaurant has suffered an 80% reduction in sales and service, and Musleh is struggling to pay its employees and other minor expenses as a result.

According to Musleh, these struggles are the result of the declining purchasing power of many Afghans, which has been significantly affected in recent weeks. Essentially, “fewer people will go out to eat,” he said.

Afghanistan’s local economy has been left in a disastrous state as the Taliban attempt to install a new government.

At a recent event organized by the Atlantic Councilformer Afghan central bank chief Ajmal Ahmady said: “I don’t want to talk about economic collapse, but I think it will be [an] extremely difficult or difficult economic situation. He predicted that GDP would decline by 10-20%.

Banks are facing a cash crunch and may soon have to close to the public unless the Taliban releases more funds, Reuters reported.

The cash crunch has been going on for weeks, with a month now having passed since the collapse of the Afghan government, according to the report. Bankers fear the situation will lead to higher food and electricity prices.

The Afghan economy is cash-based, especially for local businesses. The country depends on money sent from the United States to Afghanistan’s central bank, but with about $9.5 billion in assets frozen at the country’s central bank, the Taliban will likely inherit increased hardship.

Gargi Rao, economic research analyst at GlobalData said: “With multilateral agencies including the EU, IMF and World Bank halting funds, it will further discourage growth prospects amid the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Musleh said he buys his raw materials in dollars and sells his services to customers in Afghan currency.

But over the past few weeks, the Afghan currency has lost value, losing around 10% against the US dollar. In the week following the Taliban takeover, it went from around 79 Afghanis to the dollar to 86 Afghanis to the dollar, Insider’s Kevin Shalvey reported.

When asked how the weakened Afghani would affect his restaurant, Musleh said he will have to raise prices to get to a more balanced point.

“Frankly, I don’t see any hope for my business,” Musleh added. “If this case continues in [the] in the very near future, my restaurant will be closed and the result will be unemployment for all team members.”

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