Written by Vedika Pathania, a second-year journalism student
In the August of 2021, The Taliban took control in Afghanistan two weeks before the United States was due to end a two-decade war by withdrawing its troops. Kabul fell to the Taliban completing their takeover of the nation in a swift onslaught that saw provinces and warlords surrender without resistance.
Why is Afghanistan facing a crisis?
Since then, in spite of numerous protests, the Taliban regime has been harsh and above all, oppressive. Afghanistan is in peril months after the Taliban took control. Millions of people are on the verge of hunger, the healthcare system is in disarray, and incomes are falling. While the Taliban now rule the whole nation, they appear to have no idea how to deal with a mounting humanitarian disaster. Following the Taliban takeover, numerous nations have banned or significantly reduced help to Afghanistan, putting the country on the verge of a humanitarian disaster.
How bad is it?
International development aid accounted for about 80% of the budget of the former Afghan government. Most donors halted government help when the Taliban took control of Kabul on August 15. According to the United Nations World Food Programme, the situation has the potential to become the world’s greatest humanitarian disaster. According to UN estimates, around 23 million of Afghanistan’s almost 40 million people are suffering from severe food shortages. Since the Taliban assumed power, human rights violations have increased. Among other atrocities, they have presided over numerous public executions, a rise in threats against journalists and activists, a drop in girls attending school, and a tightening of restrictions on women.
What is the reason behind the hunger crisis?
The hunger issue is the result of a number of things. Prices for essential foods like wheat and rice have soared, harvests have been damaged by severe drought over most of the nation, and cross-border aid has been blocked due to a number of issues. The Food and Agriculture Organization has warned that if conditions do not improve, Afghanistan might face famine this year. This has all been further aggravated by the harsh January winters.
How has the Taliban responded?
While the Taliban have stated that the new administration would be different from Mullah Omar’s previous one, there is little evidence on the ground that this will be the case – at least not yet. The Taliban-led government in Afghanistan has refuted a recent Human Rights Watch (HRW) study alleging that the country’s collapse to the new rule has hastened human rights problems and humanitarian disaster.
In the midst of this crisis, how are other nations responding?
Humanitarian aid has been supplied from countries such as the United States, Europe, and India to help alleviate the situation. Due to the suspension of most commercial flights to Kabul, aid is being delivered by road to the landlocked country, primarily through Pakistan, Iran, and Central Asia. The UN Security Council officially adopted a resolution on December 22 that allows humanitarian relief to Afghanistan. All international sanctions on the Taliban, however, remain in effect. UN authorities have asked the United States and other nations to significantly increase funding, but now that the Taliban have taken power, these governments are faced with a challenge.