ICG warns of mass starvation in Afghanistan

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The International Crisis Group (ICG) in a newly published report said that if the international community does not scale up economic support, more Afghans may die of hunger and starvation in the current crisis than from the fighting in the past 20 years.

“Hunger and destitution following the Taliban’s takeover of the country seem poised to kill more Afghans than all the bombs and bullets of the past two decades,” the report reads.

The ICG report says the Taliban’s inability to run a modern economy and the decision of foreign donors to cut off all but emergency aid are the main reasons behind the economic and humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

The report blamed the international community for building up a totally donor-dependent state apparatus in Afghanistan since 2001.

“Today, donors are providing humanitarian aid, but this limited type of emergency assistance is insufficient to arrest the worsening humanitarian and economic crises. The human cost is already immense.

Hundreds of thousands or even more deaths, and unspeakable scenes of deprivation, seem likely over the winter months,” the report said.

According to the ICG, some analysts think that Western nations want the Taliban to fail and are punishing it for its violent takeover, by cutting aid and letting it become a pariah state which is starved of resources. The report, however, highlights that the people of Afghanistan are paying the real price.

The ICG report also criticized the Islamic Emirate for the current situation for its failure to form an inclusive government and for its track record on human rights, including the ban on girls’ education and its severe limiting of women’s right to work. “The Taliban bear tremendous responsibility for failing to take steps,” the report read.

The ICG said that disengagement with the Islamic Emirate will have severe repercussions for the people of Afghanistan and stability in the region.

“A stance against engagement with a Taliban-run state based on such considerations requires accepting the cruel and dangerous implications, however.

The consequences are already visible: growing risk of famine; surging migration; rising threats of terrorism; and rising supply of illicit drugs,” the report read.

The ICG called on the international community to work with the Islamic Emirate to keep the state apparatus functioning.

According to the report, many middle rank officials from the previous government remain in their posts and they can resume working with donor support.

ICG has urged the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and other international financial institutions to engage with the Islamic Emirate in sending funds to Afghanistan.

The ICG has called on the UN and the US to amend their sanctions to avoid targeting the entire Afghan government, and it calls on the US and its allies to find ways to inject liquidity into Afghan currency markets.—Agencies

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