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Humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan needs urgent response: HRW

News Agencies | Updated on: 5 September 2021, 8:51 IST
Afghanistan Crisis

The Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said foreign donors should take immediate action to ensure that necessary aid reaches Afghans facing hunger and collapsing health services after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.

In a statement on Friday, HRW said donors also need to develop a coordinated plan of action to address support for education, the banking system, and other critical needs that require the cooperation of Taliban authorities, who threaten basic human rights, particularly the rights of women and girls.

The rights group said that much of the previous Afghan government is no longer functioning due to funding uncertainties, while humanitarian aid and other assistance provided by UN agencies and non-governmental organizations have been severely curtailed due to security concerns, staff evacuations, closures, and legal uncertainties.

UN agencies have warned that "a humanitarian catastrophe looms" and urged donor governments to "dig deep" to fund an emergency flash appeal. The US and EU have stated that they will continue providing humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.

"Donor governments are understandably uneasy about providing assistance and funding to Afghanistan under the Taliban given their terrible rights record and newly emerging abuses," said Patricia Gossman, associate Asia director at HRW. "To prevent a dire situation from becoming even worse, donors should urgently agree to support international agencies and nongovernmental groups that can provide emergency aid for food, health, and education, and create a plan to address assistance directly involving the Taliban."

Afghanistan is facing a major economic collapse. Prices for food and other essentials have risen, even as most banks remain closed, and the UN has reported limited access to cash and possible food shortages, HRW said.

According to the rights group, donors halted most international aid to Afghanistan's governmental agencies and institutions shortly before and after the Taliban takeover. The Central Bank of Afghanistan, now under Taliban control, has been cut off from the international banking system and access to the country's foreign currency reserves.

"Afghanistan is now facing an economic crisis that affects the basic needs of millions of Afghans," Gossman said. "Donors need to urgently address the difficult task of ensuring emergency support reaches Afghans in greatest need while not facilitating Taliban abuses."


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First published: 5 September 2021, 8:51 IST