Afghans bemoan food price hikes during Ramadan

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As Muslims around the world begin fasting for the holy month of Ramadan, the streets of Kabul are teaming with worshippers looking to stock up on food and treats for their iftar meals at sunset.

An abundance of traditional sweets and food is displayed in stalls at street markets, in the hope of enticing large numbers of hungry customers.

But many shoppers in Kabul have expressed frustration at prices that are generally pushed up during the holy month each year.

Many say the poor and disadvantaged in the country will not be able to afford basic commodities and their meals.

“I urge our traders to bring down the prices, the poor and disadvantaged have to remember this month with happiness. It is the holy month of Ramadan, for 11 months they do as they like, but for one month they have to work for God, they must help the poor and disadvantaged,” said Kamar Khan, an Afghan resident looking to buy meat at a butcher shop.

Another Kabul resident, Nafas Jan, said prices had changed as recently as in the past two days.

"In the last day or two there has been a difference (in prices), our shopkeepers, who are like our brothers and our children, they must - I urge them - that during this holy month for them to be benevolent towards the poor and disadvantaged,” said Nafas Jan.

Afghan shoppers say the market prices for basic foods like rice and flour have been inflated by as much as 50 percent in recent days.

The month is typically celebrated with large evening banquets, where families gather at sunset to break their day’s fast with spreads of food, salads, drinks and traditional deserts.

For many Muslims around the world Ramadan started on Wednesday (July 10). The month lasts for 29 or 30 days, ending with Eid-al-Fitr celebrations.

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