Metro International reporter Kurt Kazan explains the current humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. He describes the severe consequences this has posed for Afghan people on a daily basis, such as a hunger crisis and a collapsing healthcare system.
It has been approximately six months since the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan. Much like before, when the country was under the occupation of the United States, Afghanistan is in a state of crisis. Now, however, instead of constant fighting and bloodshed, the Afghan people are faced with one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises.
End of Foreign Aid
Foreign aid – that is, financial assistance worth billions of euros – has been largely frozen following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan. The majority of Afghan people – a population of around thirty-eight million – are consequently confronted by high unemployment rates, which has ultimately led to rising poverty. According to the United Nations Development Programme, Afghanistan’s poverty rate is at risk of rising to as much as 97% from the 72% it was in September 2021.
The rise of poverty has caused the price of everyday necessities to skyrocket. Consequently, most Afghans are faced with the inability to buy food, despite it being available. However, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations states that this might also change as Afghanistan is on the verge of slipping into famine as early as this year if the situation does not improve. Currently, 98% of Afghan people do not receive enough food on a daily basis. The war in Ukraine additionally raises fear of rising wheat prices.
To make matters even worse, in October 2020, Afghanistan was struck by the worst drought in thirty years – an event that continues to have an effect to this day, over a year later. The drought has destroyed crops in most parts of the country, pushing farmers to seek work elsewhere. However, due to the country’s failing economy, this has become harder than ever.
Collapsing Health-Care System
During the invasion by the United States, Afghanistan’s healthcare system depended on cross-border aid. Now that the U.S. has left the country, foreign financial aid has been largely frozen, which has led to Afghanistan’s healthcare system collapsing.
Hospitals are unable to pay their staff (similar to other employers); people seeking treatment are either turned away due to a lack of space, or, if they are lucky enough, they are placed in overfilled rooms along with other patients. The consequences of the collapsing health care system are devastating. Approximately one-third of the children who arrive at the hospital seeking treatment do not survive.
Much like in the rest of the world, COVID-19 has taken a toll on Afghanistan and its citizens. Moreover, diseases such as malaria, measles, and polio, have begun to spread rapidly across the nation following the Taliban takeover.
Human Rights Abuses
Many countries, such as the United States, only provide limited aid to Afghanistan due to the notable increase in human rights abuses under Taliban rule.
Since the capture of Kabul in mid-August, the insurgent group has overseen 100+ killings of those whose work was related to the former Afghan Government and National Security. At least 72 of which were performed publicly for others to see.
Women’s rights are under threat. Numerous Afghan girls have been declined the right to attend school. The restrictions against women have tightened to such a degree that the streets of the country’s capital are almost entirely absent of the presence of women.
Considering the developments that have (not) taken place during this period, it is safe to say that Afghanistan’s current situation is no better than what it was previously – It actually only has taken a turn for the worse, and the ones paying the price are the innocent people of Afghanistan.