Apart from insecurity and increase in crime incidents, Kabul residents are left in shock as food and fuel prices have soared unprecedently over the last few days following the massive fire in the customs office of Islam Qala in Herat and the closure of two other trade ports in the north.
The residents criticized the government for lacking a proper control system on commodities and fuel prices in local markets.
There was over 15 Afs ($0.19) increase in every liter of petrol in the last two weeks. Meanwhile, the price of a 40-kg bag of flour rose to around 2,000 Afs ($25) from 1,400 Afs ($18).
Aman, a vendor in Kabul, said he cannot afford to buy food for his family as the prices have gone up unprecedently.
“The president lives a luxurious life and is not aware what we are doing,” he said.
"The prices must be controlled. Everyone tries to increase the prices on their own. One kilogram of gas was 40 Afs ($0.5) but it has increased to 100 Afs ($1.3)," said Latif, a Kabul resident.
Analysts blamed the government for “failing” to control the prices in local markets. They said there is a need for a proper policy by the government.
“The problem is that we don’t have the required policy to address the issue,” said university lecturer Sayed Massoud. “Another problem is lack of strategic storage facilities that can prevent such an issue.”
“The government should have worked on the issue in the last 19 years,” said Salim Sarem, a university teacher in Kabul.
Officials linked the issue with the closure of two northern trade routes over transportation companies’ strike and the fire that broke out in the Islam Qala customs office in Herat.
The transportation companies ended their strike on Saturday. But another trade route in the north remains closed by some protestors who seek the release of a nine-year-old child who was kidnapped in the northern province of Balkh three months back.
“There are many goods that have been stranded in the several trade ports. They should be distributed to markets,” the deputy head of Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment, said Khairuddin Mayil, said.
“The activities of the Islam Qala customs office have been resumed,” said Fawad Ahmadi, spokesman for the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. “The ministry will act against those who sell fuel and gas at high prices.”