Today, the threat of a humanitarian crisis and the undermining of global food security is growing throughout the world because of the severe economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, disruption of global logistics and climate change.
The grave humanitarian situation in Afghanistan is of particular concern to the international community. Today, the Afghan people are facing serious socio-economic problems. According to UN estimates, Afghanistan is actually on the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe. Almost half of the country’s population, 18 million people, is vitally dependent on humanitarian aid. More than half of all Afghan children under the age of five will suffer from malnutrition in the near future.
Speaking at the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev emphasized that “in the current difficult period, it is impossible to isolate Afghanistan, leave it alone with the existing big problems.” In the current situation, the main issue requiring the urgent attention of the world community and coordinated global actions is to prevent the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the country.
In order to fully support the humanitarian activities of the United Nations, other international organizations and foreign states in Afghanistan and other countries, on June 21, 2022, President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev signed a decree “On measures to create an international multifunctional transport and logistics hub for humanitarian assistance” on the basis of the Termez Cargo Center logistics terminal in the Surkhandarya region.
The initiative of the President of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, to create an international hub in Termez is in demand and timely. It makes a significant contribution to the efforts of the international community to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in Afghanistan and other parts of the world.
An important advantage of the international hub being created in Termez is its unique geographical location with land and rail connections with Afghanistan. It is the only logistics terminal in Central Asia near the border with Afghanistan, which makes it the most important international hub of strategic importance.
To date, international organizations are already actively using the capabilities of Termez for the timely and high-quality delivery of humanitarian supplies to Afghanistan and other countries.
In particular, in December 2021, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) sent the first batch of humanitarian aid from Termez to Afghanistan, consisting of 40 tons of basic necessities. In February 2022, the Department sent 20 tons of humanitarian aid with basic necessities from Termez to Tajikistan as part of assistance in preparing for a possible influx of refugees from Afghanistan. UNHCR has given the Management office in Termez the status of a Regional Humanitarian Logistics Center with the possibility of expanding the geography of humanitarian cargo deliveries.
The UN World Food Programme (WFP) regularly sends humanitarian supplies from Termez to Afghanistan. According to GDP data, from November 2021 to the present, about 42 thousand tons of food products were sent through Termez to Afghanistan.
In an article “Uzbekistan, in cooperation with the UN, provides humanitarian support to Afghanistan,” published on the website of the UN News Center, it is emphasized that Termez has turned into a “road of life” for millions of Afghans: warehouses with UN humanitarian supplies are located here.
Ramiz Alakbarov, Permanent Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator of the UN in Afghanistan, noted that he was amazed at the level of interdepartmental and cross-border cooperation in Termez. “This is an example of how UNICEF, WFP, UNHCR, and our coordination offices are joining forces across borders to deliver aid to the Afghan people.” In his opinion, it would be impossible to establish the operation of a high-tech cargo hub in Termez and transport such a large amount of aid across the border without the assistance of the government of Uzbekistan.
Today, such reputable international organizations as the International Organization for Migration, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the European Union and other international structures are showing a practical interest in using the unique transport and logistics capabilities of the International Hub.
Of course, the creation of an international multifunctional transport and logistics hub to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan and other states in Termez will be an important contribution of Uzbekistan to ensuring regional and global security and stability, strengthening good-neighborly relations and mutually beneficial cooperation with Afghanistan and leading international organizations.