The Humanitarian Crisis continues in Afghanistan

Managing editor of The International Asia Today. At the same time, the author works as a research assistant at ANKASAM in the field of Central Asia and the Caucasus region.

Today, an unprecedentedly difficult situation is taking shape in Afghanistan, both politically, socially and economically. The country is mentioned with more humanitarian crisis for this time in the world agenda. Almost everyone is talking about the same situation; whereas, the Afghan people are desperately trying to survive in a serious humanitarian disaster. While the weather conditions in winter have started to influence, the Afghan people who always suffer from a lack of fuels are trying to warm up their houses by using plastic bottles and every kind of product. The crisis deepens day by day while seeking answers to questions such as the seriousness of the situation in Afghanistan, who should help people for their survival, the reasons for not providing humanitarian aid, and the contribution of foreign powers, including neighboring states, to the solution of the problem. What has happened is not only the problems caused by freezing Afghan national assets in US banks but also the lack of necessary humanitarian assistance.

According to a report released in late October by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the UN World Food Program (WFP), more than half of Afghanistan’s population (22.8 million out of a total of 39 million, according to the World Bank) is faced with a crisis or an oversupply of food.1 Experts had previously warned that this humanitarian crisis would occur and that the situation would become inextricable without the support of the international community.

Although the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan is in the focus of attention of the entire international community, many countries are not ready to cooperate with the Taliban and have suspended the allocation of funds for aid to Afghanistan. The USA announced in August 2020 that the Afghan government blocked the Taliban’s access to the accounts controlled by the Federal Reserve System and American banks.2

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Taliban administration, looking for ways out of the experienced difficulties, sent an open letter to the US Congress on the removal of the barrier to Afghanistan’s funds on November 17, 2021, expressing their concern that if the current situation continues, the problems that the Afghan government and people are going to face will cause challenges in the region and the world.3

Jake Sullivan, National Security Advisor to US President Joe Biden, stated in a statement that the USA is Afghanistan’s largest humanitarian aid donor and that they continue to provide humanitarian aid to the Afghan people through international organizations and non-governmental organizations, although not through the Taliban government.4

In addition, although not at a sufficient level, China, Pakistan, Qatar, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are the leading countries providing financial aid to Afghanistan. Declaring that they share the UN’s position and that they will not leave Afghanistan alone with unprecedented difficulties, regardless of their political views or personal opinions, the Kazakhstan government stated that it supplies food and basic necessities. Kazakhstan also proposes to establish a logistics center to provide humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.5

The humanitarian crisis in the country now covers every area. Most of the local hospital staff across the country have not been paid for months, and there is a lack of medicine and other supplies to treat patients. The support of the United Nations Development Programme, which provided $15 million in cooperation with the Global Fund to prevent the complete collapse of the Afghan health system, is changing in a slightly positive direction.6 The UN states that the Afghan people should not be left alone. In October, UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged all countries to find ways to support the Afghan economy, expressing his belief that this can and should be done “without violating international law”.

On November 18, 2021, the first humanitarian aid products were sent from Russia to Afghanistan. The 36-ton aid provided by three planes consists of basic needs products. The representative of the Taliban government, who received the aid, thanked the Russian Federation administration and called the rest of the world to take similar steps.7 In addition, on 19 November 2021, the special representative of the President of the Russian Federation Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, Director of the Second Asian Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in an interview with the “Russia-24” TV channel, stated that Russia has no plans to “watch” the fossil resources of Afghanistan, However, he stated that he was ready to participate in a number of commercial projects in this country and said, “Terrorism and drug smuggling must be stopped in this region. Only then will we be happy for ourselves and the Afghan people. Russia is interested in having an independent and self-sufficient government in Kabul, as well as a friendly attitude towards Moscow.” said.8 Kabulov also stated that the Afghani, the national currency of Afghanistan, is losing value every day as the US freezes the country’s financial assets.

There are not only US dollars but also not enough national Afghan currencies in circulation in the country. The currency that is not in circulation continues to depreciate. The Afghan currency fell 1.7% per dollar, falling to record levels following the Taliban’s arrival in government.9 Two companies operating in the market, Western Union and MoneyGram, have ceased operations in the state.10

Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev, speaking at the annual meeting of the CIS Security Council’s Secretaries of the Council in Moscow, said that if the new authorities in Kabul fail to normalize the situation and the international community does not provide support to the Afghan people, events there could turn into a disaster.11

The concerns of international organizations and states about humanitarian aid are also the problems experienced in the distribution of aid. Foreign organizations do not trust a government that has been at war for the past two decades and therefore lacks management skills.

However, it is necessary to take the responsibility of governing the country in an inclusive way without wasting time and without delaying the people’s attainment of livable living conditions. Otherwise, the Afghan people will no longer have the strength to withstand it, and the humanitarian crisis will turn into a disaster. It is necessary to provide not only humanitarian aid, but also longer-term aid to Afghanistan, and the entire world community should contribute to this process. Apart from the Russian Federation, the People’s Republic of China and Tajikistan, Central Asian countries are expressing their readiness for this on different platforms and trying to deliver aid.

It is critically important for the region that the administration to be established in Afghanistan is ethnopolitical inclusive, ensuring unity and solidarity in the country and centralizing it. Only in this case can the country return to normal and accelerate its development.

[1] “Талибы поблагодарили Россию за поставку гуманитарной помощи в Афганистан”,, (Date of access 20.11.2021).

2 “Талибы попросили США разблокировать деньги Афганистана”,, (Date of access: 20.11.2021).

3 “Талибы попросили США разблокировать деньги Афганистана”,, (Date of access: 20.11.2021).

4 “США отказались направлять в Афганистан гуманитарную помощь через талибов”,, (Date of access: 20.11.2021).

5 “Глава РК: Мы не должны оставлять Афганистан наедине с трудностями”,, (Date of access: 20.11.2021).

6 “Предоставленные ООН зарплаты дают надежду тысячам медработников Афганистана”,, (Date od access: 20.11.2021).

7 “Талибы поблагодарили Россию за поставку гуманитарной помощи в Афганистан”,, (Date of access: 20.11.2021).

8 “Кабулов заявил, что Россия готова участвовать в коммерческих проектах в Афганистане”,, (Date of access: 20.11.2021).

9 “Афганская валюта обвалилась до рекордного минимума после прихода талибов”,, (Date of access: 20.11.2021).

10 “Афганистан: жизнь на грани гуманитарной катастрофы”,, (Date of access: 20.11.2021).

11”Патрушев предупредил о возможном катастрофическом сценарии для Афганистана”,, (Date of access: 20.11.2021).


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