Now in control of Afghanistan, the movement deals with an economic crisis and aid dependency in a country where more than half of people survive on less than a dollar a day.

Taliban fighters patrol on a pick-up vehicle along in a street in Kabul on August 31, 2021 after the US pulled all its troops out of the country.
Taliban fighters patrol on a pick-up vehicle along in a street in Kabul on August 31, 2021 after the US pulled all its troops out of the country. (Hoshang Hashimi / AFP)

Taliban fighters celebrated with gunfire on Tuesday hours after the last US forces abandoned Kabul, closing a frenzied airlift operation that saw more than 123,000 foreign nationals and Afghans flee.

But the Taliban have now bigger problems to worry about as it tries to figure out how to govern a nation of 38 million people that relies heavily on international aid. 

READ MORE: Taliban controls Kabul airport, celebrates victory after US withdrawal

A long-running economic crisis has worsened since the Taliban's rapid takeover of the country in mid-August, with people crowding banks to maximize their daily withdrawal limit of about $200. 

Civil servants haven't been paid in months and the local currency is losing value. Most of Afghanistan's foreign reserves are held abroad and currently frozen.

“We keep coming to work but we are not getting paid,” said Abdul Maqsood, a traffic police officer on duty near the airport. He said he hasn't received his salary in four months.

A major drought threatens the food supply, and thousands who fled during the Taliban's lightning advance remain in squalid camps.

“Afghanistan is on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe,” said Ramiz Alakbarov, the local UN humanitarian coordinator. He said $1.3 billion is needed for aid efforts, only 39 percent of which has been received.

The challenges the Taliban face in reviving the economy could give Western nations leverage as they push the group to fulfill a pledge to allow free travel, form an inclusive government and guarantee women's rights. 

The Taliban say they want to have good relations with other countries, including the US.

For now, the Taliban are expected to focus on the Kabul airport, where scenes of desperation and horror played out for weeks as tens of thousands fled in a massive US-led airlift.

A humanitarian crisis looms

For the poorest in Afghanistan, the change from one ruling system to another hardly matters in their daily struggle to survive.

Despite billions of dollars in Western aid over the past two decades, more than half of Afghans survive on less than a dollar a day. 

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres urged countries on Tuesday to provide emergency funding as half of Afghanistan's population is estimated to be in need of urgent humanitarian assistance to survive.

Guterres expressed his "grave concern at the deepening humanitarian and economic crisis in the country," adding that basic services threatened to collapse "completely."

Guterres announced that the UN would release details of a flash appeal for Afghanistan next week.

"One in three Afghans do not know where their next meal will come from. More than half of all children under five are expected to become acutely malnourished in the next year.

"People are losing access to basic goods and services every day. A humanitarian catastrophe looms," said Guterres.

READ MORE:As Taliban celebrates victory, Afghans remain on edge

Source: TRTWorld and agencies