By SS Ahmad
Afghanistan is currently facing one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, with millions of its population in dire need of assistance. However, the provision of humanitarian aid in the country has been significantly declining, jeopardizing the lives and well-being of countless Afghans. This article explores the alarming situation and emphasizes the urgent need for international aid organizations to engage with the Taliban to ensure the effective delivery of humanitarian aid to those who need it the most.
The Taliban’s Increasing Control Over Aid Operations
The Taliban’s influence over aid organizations working in Afghanistan has been steadily growing, including programs managed by the United Nations. According to a U.S. government report, the Taliban has effectively infiltrated and influenced most UN-managed assistance programming, consolidating power and manipulating humanitarian help to suit their agenda. This growing control poses a significant threat to the delivery of aid to vulnerable populations.
The Taliban has imposed bans and restrictions on aid groups, particularly impacting Afghan women’s involvement in international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and most aid groups. Additionally, the Taliban has ordered internationally funded education projects to be handed over to their Education Ministry. These measures have further hampered the provision of essential assistance to those in need.
The Consequences of Declining Humanitarian Assistance
The consequences of the declining humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan are dire. The country is grappling with a rapid economic collapse, exacerbated by the withdrawal of international troops and the loss of international humanitarian aid. This has pushed millions of Afghans towards starvation, with more than two-thirds of the population in need of humanitarian assistance. The situation is particularly dire for women and girls who have been deprived of education and work opportunities under the Taliban’s hard-line Islamist government.
Without sufficient aid, countless lives are at risk. Many Afghans are already struggling to feed their families, relying on the limited assistance provided by international NGOs. The threat of famine looms large, with families expressing their fears of hunger and uncertainty about the future. The declining funding for humanitarian operations in Afghanistan has left millions vulnerable and desperate for help.
The Concerns of International Humanitarian Organizations
International humanitarian organizations, such as the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and the UN World Food Program (WFP), have expressed deep concerns over the decreasing funding for humanitarian operations in Afghanistan. The IRC has highlighted that nearly 30 million Afghans remain in dire need of assistance, and funding shortfalls are jeopardizing the humanitarian response. The WFP has warned that without urgent funding, it will be forced to cut food aid to millions of Afghans facing hunger and food insecurity.
Both organizations stress the urgent need for sustained and flexible funding to ensure that the most vulnerable Afghans receive the aid they desperately need. However, the current funding coverage is inadequate, with only a fraction of the proposed budget being fulfilled. This lack of support puts millions of lives at risk and hampers the ability of aid organizations to alleviate the suffering in Afghanistan.
The Need to Engage with the Taliban for Effective Aid Delivery
To address the declining humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan, it is crucial for international aid organizations to engage with the Taliban. Despite the Taliban’s controversial history and human rights abuses, engaging with them is essential to ensure that aid reaches the most vulnerable populations. The IRC, in its report, emphasizes the need for aid groups to invest in improving relations with the Taliban and changing their perception of aid actors.
Engagement with the Taliban presents both challenges and opportunities. Aid organizations must navigate a complex political landscape while upholding their humanitarian principles. It requires building trust and open lines of communication with the Taliban to negotiate access and ensure the effective and impartial delivery of aid. By engaging with the Taliban, aid organizations can advocate for the rights of women and girls, promote inclusivity, and work towards alleviating the suffering of the Afghan people.
The Role of International Donors
International donors play a crucial role in supporting humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan. However, the loss of development assistance and financial support from Western donors following the Taliban’s return to power has significantly impacted the provision of aid. The Taliban’s unrecognized government has faced sanctions and international isolation due to human rights abuses, further hindering aid flows.
Despite these challenges, international donors must recognize the urgent need for sustained funding to address the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. By providing financial support, donors can help alleviate the suffering of millions and contribute to rebuilding the country’s shattered economy. It is essential for donors to prioritize long-term and flexible funding commitments to ensure the continuity of aid operations and the well-being of the Afghan people.
The declining humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan poses a grave threat to the lives and well-being of millions of Afghans. The Taliban’s increasing control over aid operations, coupled with diminishing funding, has led to a worsening crisis. International aid organizations must urgently engage with the Taliban to ensure the effective delivery of humanitarian aid to those in need. Donors must step up their support, providing sustained and flexible funding to alleviate the suffering and offer hope to the people of Afghanistan. It is only through collective efforts and a commitment to humanitarian principles that we can bring relief to the Afghan people and help them rebuild their lives.
SS Ahmad is a freelance researcher and journalist based in Afghanistan.
Note: The contents of the article are of sole responsibility of the author. Afghan Diaspora Network will not be responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the articles.