Taliban to monitor over 6,500 ‘professional’ beggars in Kabul

Kabul, Oct 6 (EFE).- The Taliban said on Thursday that more than 6,500 people were acting in Kabul as “professional” beggars, who would be subject to arrests and punishments as part of a campaign of biometric identification, also aimed at rehabilitating those forced to beg alms due to the humanitarian crisis.

“The beggars registration committee has identified 10,808 beggars from different areas of Kabul city until Oct. 5,” after the regime launched the campaign in September, the office of the deputy prime minister for economic affairs said in a statement.

The interim Taliban government estimates that over 60 percent of the identified beggars are “professionals,” who would be excluded from an economic aid program designed for those forced into begging by to their circumstances.

The “professional” beggars registered with their biometric data, such as fingerprints and iris-scans, are liable to be arrested if they return to the streets to beg.

According to the committee, more than 7,300 of the identified beggars are woman – with 65 percent of them being termed “professionals” – and a little less than half of the 2,505 child beggars were assessed to be “professionals,” while the rest were judged to be eligible for help by the authorities.

The “eligible” beggars would be given a monthly aid of 2,000 Afghanis (around $22) for each member of the low-income family by the Afghan Red Crescent Society.

Around 500 of the unaccompanied minors among the beggars have been “admitted to care and training centers by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs after their biometric data was registered, and will be provided with livelihood and education,” the statement said.

According to a report published on Wednesday by the United Nations Development Program, around 95-97 percent of Afghanistan’s 40 million people are currently living below the poverty line, and 22 million Afghans depend on some type of humanitarian assistance for their survival.

Moreover, an estimated 3 million children are suffering from severe malnutrition, including around one million very serious cases in which the child’s life is in danger. Eight out of every 10 Afghans are forced to drink contaminated water, which multiplies the risk of diseases.

The humanitarian and economic crisis in Afghanistan caused by two decades of war has been aggravated by the Taliban seizing power in August 2021, which resulted in the country’s international isolation. EFE


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