How Afghanistan’s Very last Finance Minister Finished 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 “The State of the Afghan Economy” at New America April 15, 2016 in Washington, DC.

Ameen Habibi(R), Afghan Deputy Finance Minister for Coverage, and Khalid Payenda, senior adviser to the Afghan Minister of Finance, pay attention through an occasion on “The Point out of the Afghan Economy” at New The us April fifteen, 2016 in Washington, DC.
Image: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP by way of Getty Illustrations or photos (Getty Illustrations or photos)

There is lots of blame to unfold about for the disastrous military services withdrawal adopted by a finish collapse of the Afghan federal government final yr, but the country’s previous finance minister informed the Washington Put up, as he produced a residing finding up travellers for Uber, that he notably blames himself.

Khalid Payenda’s tale is genuinely an outstanding. He acknowledged the occupation of Finance Minister late in 2020, when the two COVID-19 and the Taliban had been getting substantial floor in the nation. Though his household begged him not to acquire the place, viewing his mom die of COVID because of to the deficiency of a $two hundred equipment in the greatest medical center in Kabul spurred him to act. He thought he could do very good and support his fellow Afghans.

Now he regrets using the occupation, regrets not preserving Afghanistan from by itself and from fed-up American allies. He spends his evenings finding up Uber prospects throughout the D.C. location in among gigs as a lecturer at assume tanks and overseas coverage courses at Georgetown College as he struggles with the why and how of every little thing that has transpired in excess of the final several a long time:

Now, 7 months soon after Kabul experienced fallen to the Taliban, he was at the wheel of his Honda Accord, headed north on Interstate ninety five from his property in Woodbridge, Va., towards Washington, D.C. Payenda swiped at his mobile phone and opened the Uber application, which supplied his “quest” for the weekend. For now his accomplishment was calculated in hundreds of pounds instead than billions.

“If I finish fifty outings in the up coming two times, I acquire a $ninety five reward,” he reported as he navigated the gentle Friday-evening targeted traffic.

The occupation was his way of offering for his spouse and 4 young children soon after he experienced fatigued his modest price savings supporting his household. “I experience amazingly grateful for it,” reported the forty-yr-outdated. “It signifies I really don’t have to be determined.” It was also a short term reprieve from obsessing in excess of the ongoing tragedy in his nation, which was struggling by means of a catastrophic drought, a pandemic, worldwide sanctions, a collapsed economic climate, a famine and the resurgence of Taliban rule.

There is just way far too significantly to this intriguing tale to recount right here, but concentrating on Payenda’s working experience definitely delivers into sharp reduction the bleary sequence of gatherings that led to the existing condition in in Taliban-managed Afghanistan. The total report on the Washington Put up is effectively really worth your time.

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