How Afghanistan’s Last Finance Minister Ended Up An Uber Driver

Ameen Habibi(R), Afghan Deputy Finance Minister for Policy, and Khalid Payenda, senior adviser to the Afghan Minister of Finance, listen during an event on

Ameen Habibi(R), Afghan Deputy Finance Minister for Coverage, and Khalid Payenda, senior adviser to the Afghan Minister of Finance, hear throughout an occasion on “The State of the Afghan Economic system” at New America April 15, 2016 in Washington, DC .
Picture, BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP by way of Getty Photographs ,Getty Photographs,

There’s loads of blame to unfold round for the disastrous navy withdrawal adopted by a whole collapse of the Afghan authorities final yr, however the nation’s former finance minister informed the Washington Submitas he made a dwelling selecting up passengers for Uber, that he notably blames himself.

Khalid Payenda’s story is really an unimaginable. He accepted the job of Finance Minister late in 2020, when each COVID-19 and the Taliban have been gaining important floor within the nation. Whereas his household begged him to not take the place, watching his mom die of COVID because of the lack of a $200 machine in one of the best hospital in Kabul spurred him to behave. He believed he may do good and assist his fellow Afghans.

Now he regrets taking the job, regrets not saving Afghanistan from itself and from fed-up American allies. He spends his nights selecting up Uber clients throughout the DC space in between gigs as a lecturer at assume tanks and overseas coverage lessons at Georgetown College as he struggles with the why and the way of all the pieces that has occurred over the previous couple of years,

Now, seven months after Kabul had fallen to the Taliban, he was on the wheel of his Honda Accord, headed north on Interstate 95 from his dwelling in Woodbridge, Va., towards Washington, DC Payenda swiped at his cellphone and opened the Uber app , which provided his “quest” for the weekend. For now his success was measured in lots of of {dollars} relatively than billions.

“If I full 50 journeys within the subsequent two days, I obtain a $95 bonus,” he stated as he navigated the sunshine Friday-night visitors.

The job was his approach of offering for his spouse and 4 youngsters after he had exhausted his modest saving supporting his household. “I really feel extremely grateful for it,” stated the 40-year-old. “It means I haven’t got to be determined.” It was additionally a brief reprieve from obsessing over the continuing tragedy in his nation, which was struggling by a catastrophic drought, a pandemic, worldwide sanctions, a collapsed economic system, a famine and the resurgence of Taliban rule.

There’s simply approach an excessive amount of to this fascinating story to recount right here, however specializing in Payenda’s expertise actually brings into sharp reduction the bleary sequence of occasions that led to the present state of affairs in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. Your complete report on the Washington Submit is effectively value your time.

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