What’s Next for Afghanistan
Amidst the looming Humanitarian Crisis
The hapless Afghans are the victims of structural violence of the international community as they are facing the atrocities of global actors. More than half the country’s population of about 40 million is forced to live a miserable life just due to the change of regime in which they have no direct role, but they are still being punished. There are many reasons behind the devastation of these downtrodden Afghans but the most inhuman and unbearable one is the freezing of their assets by the Biden administration, and now the diverting of those assets towards the payment to the families affected by 9/11 atatcks.
As soon as Taliban took over Afghanistan on August 15, 2021, the United States, which was left with no other option of punishing the Taliban, froze around nine billion dollars of Afghans in US Banks. Now, when the Afghans are in desperate need of funds and foreign aid, the American President Joe Biden has signed an Executive order whereby 3.5 billion dollars, out of Afghanistan’s 7 billion dollars in the US Federal Reserve, will be diverted for making payments to the families of 9/11 victims. It is despite the fact that there is no evidence that any Afghans were involved, directly or indirectly, in the attacks on World Trade Center and Pentagon in September 2001. They are, in fact, being punished for the crime they never committed. International humanitarian organizations, worldwide civil societies and global community have condemned and expressed grave concern over this inhuman and irrational act of the American administration.
On the contrary, the role of the European Union seems somewhat positive as an EU delegation, led by Tomas Niklasson (Special Envoy of the European Union for Afghanistan), has met the representatives of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in Doha, Qatar, on February 15, to discuss the prospects of humanitarian aid for the Afghan people. The EU delegation agreed, in principle, to provide the aid with the guarantee of Taliban to open schools, colleges and universities with females to be present in all the circles without any hindrance, and provision of basic human rights to the people of Afghanistan. The Taliban has pledged to open all the closed educational institutions by March this year with no restrictions on girls to get their education and going for work as well. The EU’s act is commendable in the sense that engaging the Taliban in negotiations and understanding their motives will smoothen the ways for reaching out to the Afghans for humanitarian aid and helping out Taliban in their legitimate and humanitarian demands.
Moreover, representatives of Gulf Cooperation Council have also met a delegation led by Afghanistan’s foreign minister Molvi Amir Khan Muttaqi, to discuss the humanitarian crisis being unfolded in Afghanistan and the possible support from the GCC countries. The 6-state bloc also solicited a guarantee of safeguarding human rights and girls’ education.
Furthermore, the United Nations is going to organize an international summit for Afghanistan that will be co-hosted by the United Kingdom, which has already committed 286 million pounds for the support of Afghans, to raise funds. The UN has demanded 4.4 billion dollars for Afghanistan, the highest-ever demand UN has made for a single country. UK’s foreign secretary Liz Truss has made the announcement of co-hosting the conference which is commendable in a scenario where UK’s NATO ally, the United States, is out to guttle the assets of Afghans.
Here, Pakistan is playing a key role in highlighting the looming humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. In a recent interview with CNN, Prime Minister Imran Khan has warned that if the world ignored the Afghan crisis, then “all of us will have to face severe repercussions.” He has, time and again, shown grave concerns over the isolation of Afghans in these difficult circumstances. The prime minister added that there is no other way except to engage with Afghans and work with them. Pakistan’s embassies, diplomats, humanitarian workers, intelligentsia and civil society have raised their voices for engaging Afghans and not leaving them in the lurch as it will prove catastrophic and may even cause the worst humanitarian crisis ever. The holding of extraordinary session of OIC in Islamabad was a remarkable achievement of Pakistan in this regard. Previously, the regional and global actors including China, Russia, Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia have appealed to the world community to support Afghans without referring to the regime in Kabul.
To conclude, it can be rightly stated that the case of supporting humanity in Afghanistan is genuine and pressing. The brazen act of freezing and diverting the assets of Afghans to pay for a crime they never committed will not be ignored and forgotten by the historians and the world by the so-called champions and flag-bearers of human rights. On the other hand, those who went for engaging and helping Afghans are friends of humanity and are real well-wishers of the Afghans. Engaging Afghans is far better than isolating them in this era of global outreach and technological advancement.
The author teaches at department of Political Science, University of Malakand, Chakdara. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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