AFGHANISTAN: ON THE VERGE OF A HUMANITARIAN CRISIS

AFGHANISTAN: ON THE VERGE OF A HUMANITARIAN CRISIS

The people of Afghanistan, after facing war for four decades, are once again on the verge of another severe crisis. Since the Taliban takeover, the international community has abandoned Afghanistan; a humanitarian crisis is now unfolding there which will have catastrophic effects for the population if not addressed urgently. A number of United Nations agencies have spoken on the drastic economic collapse of Afghanistan, highlighting the possible contraction of its economy by 30 percent. They state that about 97% of the population is going below the poverty line. And this winter, people especially hundreds of thousands of children, lack food and health facilities.

About 75% of the Afghan economy is directly dependent on the foreign aid that has been suspended by the international community and western powers, pushing the situation in Afghanistan to a critical level. Thousands of government servants have remained unpaid for several months and are facing dire straits. Irrespective of who is ruling Kabul, it is the common Afghans who are suffering. In such a scenario, three kinds of parties need to step forward and adopt a practical road map for the immediate assistance of the vulnerable population. 

First, the Afghan government, whose role is very important in this regard. Before coming into power, the Taliban made several commitments of synergy and collaboration with the international community.  It made promises regarding human rights, inclusive government, eradication of terrorism, and women’s empowerment and education etc. Having now taken the driving seat, the Taliban need to fulfil their promises and build a comprehensive framework for the accomplishment of these goals. It is equally important for them to convince the international community regarding their efforts so that they can acquire humanitarian assistance on an emergency basis.

Second, the role of the United Nations, the European Union and the US is extremely important in this regard. America recognized the political legitimacy of the Taliban when it signed a peace deal with them last year in Doha. At a time when the Taliban were accelerating their offences in Afghanistan, the US and its allies were talking with them for safe passage of their troops in order to exit Afghanistan. Now, the US and other western powers should keep politics and humanity separate from each other and take immediate measures for the well-being of the Afghan people.

Third, the Muslim world should play a constructive and proactive role in curbing the possible humanitarian crisis in the war-torn country. The extraordinary meeting of the council of foreign ministers of the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) was the right call in this regard. Pakistan played a timely and significant role in bringing to the attention of the Muslim community the disastrous situation of Afghanistan. However, it might not be enough; the international community in general and the OIC in particular should frame a comprehensive roadmap regarding the future of the Taliban’s government in Afghanistan, as the issue needs to be settled on a permanent basis.

The OIC meeting resulted in the decision to take several initiatives for helping the poor and highly vulnerable people of Afghanistan. Several states agreed to provide aid, food and medicine. While such measures can help the people of Afghanistan on a temporary basis, they lack efficiency and inclusiveness. Without recognizing the government of the Taliban, all that aid might go in the wrong hands and there is a possibility of the majority of people being deprived of the assistance. Therefore, the aid may only be fruitful and long lasting, if it is handed over to the respective authorities of Kabul and distributed through proper mechanisms. If the current situation continues in Afghanistan in the coming several months, there is the possibility of another civil war breaking out. If the Taliban government fails to protect the basic interests of the common people, the latter will rise against the Kabul administration and the country will go into another destructive war which will have devastating impacts for neighbors like Pakistan and Iran. Similarly, certain terrorist groups like the Islamic State Khorasan ISK and Tehrik e Taliban Pakistan TTP can take advantage of the current situation, and Afghanistan can again become a hub of international terrorism. 

AFGHANISTAN: ON THE VERGE OF A HUMANITARIAN CRISIS

About Barkat Ullah 8 Articles
The author is doing his master’s in international Relations. He resides in Islamabad and has a wide experience of writing for newspapers.

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