UN Special Envoy for Afghanistan Says Country Is On The Brink Of ‘Humanitarian Disaster’

The United Nations Special Representative for the country warned on Wednesday.

Deborah Lyons said the United Nations predicts that 60% of the 38 million Afghans facing crisis levels of hunger during the food emergency are likely to get worse during the winter. She said the country’s GDP is estimated to have fallen 40%.

But she told the United Nations Security Council that a humanitarian disaster was “preventable”, saying the main cause was financial sanctions against the Taliban, who took over the country on the 15th. August. Sanctions “crippled the banking system, affecting every aspect of the economy. ,” said Lyons.
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$9 billion in reserves of the central bank of Afghanistan, much of which is held in the United States, was frozen following the collapse of the former government. Afghanistan was also expected to approach about $450 million by August 23 from the International Monetary Fund, but the IMF blocked the disclosure due to a “lack of clarity” on a new government.

Read more: Afghan Women, Prohibition of Study, Secrets of Online Learning

“The paralysis of the banking sector will push many financial systems into unregulated and unregulated informal money exchanges,” said Lyons. That, she said, “could only help facilitate further terrorism, trafficking and drug trafficking” that would first affect Afghanistan and then “contaminate the region”.

She said a “major negative development” was the inability of the Taliban to stem the spread of the Islamic State extremist group, which now appears to be present in most provinces and is increasingly active. The number of attacks perpetrated by IS has increased significantly from 60 last year to 334 this year, she said.

Lyons called on the international community to find ways to financially support the people of Afghanistan, who, she said, “feel abandoned, forgotten and truly punished by circumstances through no fault of their own.” “. Giving them up “would be a historic mistake,” she said.

“We have to focus for the next three or four months to help the most vulnerable Afghans in the winter,” Lyons said.

She added: “The international community urgently needs to find ways to financially support health care workers in state hospitals, staff in food security programs, and ultimately, educators. members provided that girls are explicitly granted the right to education.

HECTOR RETAMAL / AFP via Getty ImagesA Taliban fighter stands guard as women wait in line for World Food Program food distribution in Kabul on November 6, 2021.

She assured council members that the UN would make every effort to ensure that funds would not be diverted to the Taliban – or by the Taliban.

China and Russia urged the expansion of Afghanistan’s stockpiles, but US deputy ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis made no mention of sanctions.

He criticized the Taliban for ignoring calls from the Security Council and the international community to pursue a peaceful political solution to the conflict in Afghanistan and instead opting for victory on the battlefield. “And we are seeing the terrible consequences of this choice unfolding before our eyes,” he said.

“But the Afghan people don’t have to pay double for the Taliban’s decision,” DeLaurentis said, adding that the United States is the largest humanitarian donor to Afghanistan, with $474 million in aid to be provided in 2021. called on other countries to increase support. .

Lyons said the only way to avoid losing much progress over the past 20 years is for the Taliban to avoid past isolation and engage in policy dialogue with other parties to Afghanistan, the wider region and the international community. . She said the goal should be to draw up a road map with concrete steps to establish “a constructive relationship between Afghanistan and the world at large”.

Lyons said she continues to raise difficult issues with the Taliban, including calling for the restoration of rights for women and girls as well as for minorities and for a more inclusive government.

Read more: How did the female governor of Afghanistan, Salima Mazari, escape the Taliban?

The composition of the Afghan Cabinet “remains entirely male, mostly Pashtuns and almost all of the Taliban, at both the capital and provincial levels”, she said, and recent appointments continue “seemingly”. as designed more to reward warriors than to promote governance and inclusion.”

The Taliban government has not been recognized by any country or by the United Nations. Afghanistan’s UN seat is still held by the representative of the previous government, Ambassador Ghulam Isaczai.

Isaczai told the council that Afghanistan was facing “an historic crisis.”

“The lives and dignity of millions of Afghans are threatened by a failing economy, severe food insecurity and lack of security, basic rights and freedoms,” he said. “If current trends continue, Afghanistan will experience near-universal poverty.” UN Special Envoy for Afghanistan Says Country Is On The Brink Of ‘Humanitarian Disaster’

Aila Slisco

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