Supplements Print 2021-12-21

Focus of the Conference

TEXT: The backdrop of this Conference is the serious humanitarian situation in Afghanistan. Millions face...
Published December 21, 2021

TEXT: The backdrop of this Conference is the serious humanitarian situation in Afghanistan.

Millions face starvation. According to UN estimates, more than half of Afghanistan's population - around 22.8 million Afghans face crisis levels of hunger. The situation is getting worse by the day, especially with winter setting in.

World Food Programme (WFP) has warned that 3.2 million children are at risk of acute malnutrition. According to UNHCR, 665,000 people have been newly displaced within Afghanistan between January and are at risk of acute malnutrition.

According to UNHCR, 665,000 people have been newly displaced within Afghanistan between January and September 2021 - in addition to the 2.9 million people already internally displaced.

According to UNDP, 97 % of Afghans could fall below the poverty line unless the crisis is addressed.

"Afghanistan is in free fall" according to Martin Griffiths, Head of UN Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and Peter Maurer, ICRC Chief.

The economy is imploding and there is little cash left for people's everyday transactions.

Suspension of development and other foreign assistance, funding by IFIs and freezing of Afghan assets abroad have exacerbated the situation. There is a clear danger of economic collapse.

So there is already a cash liquidity crisis. And international financial and commercial transactions have been hampered due to the fear of violating sanctions imposed long ago. This is not only affecting trade and commerce, but also the mobilization and delivery of humanitarian assistance.

If left unattended, the situation could aggravate into a major humanitarian crisis with serious consequences - increased instability and chaos, mass exodus of refugees (that has not happened so far), the terrorist threat emanating from an ungoverned Afghanistan, all adversely affecting regional and international peace and security.

This will impact Pakistan and other immediate neighbours in the first place, but also the region and beyond.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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