LONDON: Afghanistan’s economy risks falling into a “death spiral” without urgent aid, with some Afghans already forced to sell their children and body parts to survive, UN chief Antonio Guterres said Thursday.
The United Nations has reached less than 13 percent of its $4.4 billon fundraising goal for Afghanistan this year, the secretary-general told a virtual conference of donors co-hosted by the UN, Britain, Germany and Qatar.
“Wealthy, powerful countries cannot ignore the consequences of their decisions on the most vulnerable,” he said, after Western nations withdrew from Afghanistan last year and allowed the Taliban back to power.
Since then, the international community has frozen nearly $9 billion in Afghan assets overseas.
Guterres lambasted actions by the Taliban including barring girls from secondary education.
“There is simply no justification for such discrimination,” he said, calling on the fundamentalist militia to deliver “an inclusive and representative government”.
But foreign donors must not abandon the Afghan people, Guterres warned, stressing that some 95 percent of Afghans do not have enough to eat and nine million are at risk from famine.
“Without immediate action, we face a starvation and malnutrition crisis in Afghanistan. People are already selling their children and their body parts, in order to feed their families,” he said.
“The first step in any meaningful humanitarian response must be to halt the death spiral of the Afghan economy.”