From Afghanistan’s finance minister to Uber driver in Washington: Khalid Payenda’s story


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Khalid Payenda says he feels ‘very lucky’ to be able to support his wife and four children Uber drivers in Washington DC, the capital of the United States.However, it was a fundamental shift in his life because Until the Taliban took power in Afghanistan Seven months ago, he was the country’s finance minister. “It’s a big change,” he admitted.

The 40-year-old economist is part of Ashraf Ghani’s executive he fled the country last august When the Taliban entered Kabul, it led to the collapse of the government and the withdrawal of Western troops from the country.

“We don’t have the collective will to reform (the country), take it seriously,” Diagnosed Payenda Ghani’s defeat in an interview with a newspaper Washington post While driving a Honda Accord, he used it to transport travelers who hired him through Uber.

The job “means not having to despair”, sometimes keeping him from the tragedies his country is going through, suffering from severe drought, pandemics and international sanctions The Taliban is back in powerexplain.

He admits, however, that he feels trapped between his past and present life because he doesn’t feel at home in America or Afghanistan today: “It’s a huge sense of emptiness.”

Payenda resigned a week before the Taliban took over Kabul after Ghani publicly rebuked him and privately accused him of a relatively minor state default on a Lebanese company.He worries that a president he sees as “angry” and highly nervous might stop him as the Taliban approaches, so Choose to fly to the United States Reunited with family who moved a week ago.

“Now that it’s over, we have the support of the world for 20 years to build a system that works for the people. We failed miserably,” he told the American newspaper. “It’s difficult when you see the suffering of the people and feel responsible,” he admitted.

His wife advised him not to accept Ghani’s offer of finance minister at the end of 2020. However, His mother died of Covid-19 There was little they could do to treat her in a hospital in Kabul a few weeks ago, which persuaded him and inspired him to improve conditions in his country, even as the Taliban approached the capital.

Now he lives in another reality and focuses on little things like getting $50 bonus from Uber If you complete 50 trips. A few days ago, he said, he was making less than $150 for six hours of work: “A mediocre night.” This is Khalid Payenda’s new life, from managing a millionaire’s budget to creating miracles to support the family’s economy.


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