Conflict and the people

Editorial Board
Sunday, Oct 10, 2021

In conditions of war, it is always people who suffer the most. This is holding as true in Afghanistan as in other countries around the world through history and in the present time. According to the World Food Programme, 14 million Afghans are food insecure and three million Afghan children suffer malnutrition. The UN has said that of the $1.2 billion pledged in funds for Afghanistan at a ministerial level conference a month after the Taliban came to power, barely 35 percent have been delivered to offer aid to a desperate people who live in a country where the economy has collapsed, where banks are no longer giving out money to people and where there is so much intense uncertainty about the future that people are attempting to flee their homeland, some making their way to neighbouring countries, some trying to leave for places further away.

The situation has been made worse by acts of terrorism, with the latest coming in Kunduz where a suicide bombing at a mosque used for worship by the Shia community killed 55 people and injured many more. It is believed the Islamic State group, opposed to the Taliban who currently rule Afghanistan, is to blame. But a war of this nature between militant factions would of course, further heighten insecurity and fear for the Afghan people and destabilise that country still further. It is hard to imagine how long Afghanistan can continue such a battering from so many different fronts, and how people will live through a situation of so much peril, with minority communities and women particularly at risk. The reports of human rights abuses across Afghanistan are already making daily headlines.

In this situation, Pakistan's foreign minister, in talks with the visiting US deputy secretary of state, has urged every effort be made for a stable, secure Afghanistan so that peace in the region can be maintained. National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf too has pointed out that, while it may in the eyes of many countries be alright to wait and see what happens next rather than to recognise the Taliban government and deliver aid, this would lead to a humanitarian crisis. Certainly, a humanitarian crisis, bigger than the one that already exists, has to be avoided. Analysts inside Afghanistan warn that it is not far away, and that things could worsen very quickly in the months ahead, especially as the bitter cold winter sets in. The world cannot allow Afghans to suffer a situation in which they have no food, possibly no shelter and no means to sustain themselves. There has to be an international effort to save the Afghanistan people and to bring to that country the kind of stability that is required to ensure there are no more deaths, either as a result of terrorist attacks or actions from other places, which were in the first place the factors that brought Afghanistan to ruin over the last many decades.