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Aid for Afghans

There were serious concerns that poverty and hunger has spiraled in Afghanistan since the Taliban took control last month as the people are facing the collapse of an entire country. As the billions of aid flows ended abruptly due to the West’s antipathy and distrust of the Taliban, the global community has a moral obligation to help Afghans after a devastating 20-year war.

At a UN-hosted conference, donors have pledged more than $1.1bn to help Afghanistan. Foreign aid has dried up and the country could run out of food by the end of this month. The World Food Programme has estimated that 14 million million are on the brink of starvation and don’t know where their next meal will come from. Ever before the Taliban seized power, nearly half of the population depended on aid. This is set to increase due to droughts and chronic shortages.

While the West mulled over proving humanitarian aid, Pakistan and China were the leading countries helping the Afghans. Beijing promised $31 million worth of food and health supplies along with coronavirus vaccines. Pakistan has dispatched four consignments of food and medical aid to various Afghan cities. It had also called for releasing Afghan assets frozen abroad.

It is been disappointing to see that Western countries who have a greater moral obligation to extend economic, humanitarian and livelihood assistance are abandoning Afghans. Many health facilities are at risk of closure after donors backed out. Around half a million have sought refuge elsewhere in the country while millions are at risk of displacement.

A humanitarian and security crisis in Afghanistan will have direct implications for the entire world. It is imperative to take collective action to avert further crisis. Despite the apprehensions over the Taliban’s conduct, we must not repeat the mistakes of the past. A sluggish response or reluctance to provide aid or funds will have grave humanitarian consequences. These are no doubt daunting challenges that require durable solutions for the provision of livelihood and ensuring access to basic necessities such as food, health, and education for the Afghan people. We must not forget the millions of Afghans who are looking at an uncertain, bleak future.