United Nations warns that the Afghan economy is “in free fall” and threatens to drag the country’s population
MADRID, 19 Dic. (EUROPA PRESS) –
The foreign ministers of the 56 states that make up the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) have agreed this Sunday to create an international aid fund to rescue Afghanistan from the rampant crisis in which it is plunged the country, aggravated after the Taliban conquest last summer and the imposition of sanctions by the United States.
The resolution reached during the special meeting, held in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, urges the Islamic Development Bank to operationalize the so-called “Humanitarian Trust Fund for Afghanistan” by the first quarter of 2022.
Likewise, and in response to the Taliban’s requests, the forum has asked the United States to “unfreeze” the approximately 8,600 million euros in funds paralyzed abroad so that the Taliban can reactivate economic activity.
The resolution reached by the Foreign Ministers also reaffirms the importance of combating terrorism in Afghanistan and asks the Taliban for guarantees that the country will not be used as a platform or refuge by any terrorist group or organization, in particular Al Qaeda, Islamic State and its subsidiaries.
Finally, the ICO has also decided to launch a Food Security Program in Afghanistan and appoint a special envoy for Afghanistan with the aim of coordinating aid and assistance efforts, as well as seeking international economic and political commitment with the country, reports the Pakistani state radio station, Radio Pakistan.
The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Martin Griffiths, also participated in the meeting, although he has predicted a dire future for the country, where 23 million people are facing hunger, 70 percent of the teachers work without pay; and millions of students, the future of Afghanistan, are out of school.
“Afghanistan’s economy is in free fall,” said Griffiths, who has advocated for the “liquidity and stabilization of the banking system, not only to save the lives of the Afghan people, but also to allow humanitarian organizations to respond” to the crisis.
The UN official welcomed the recent decision of the World Bank’s Trust Fund for the Reconstruction of Afghanistan to transfer 280 million dollars (about 260 million euros) at the end of December to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF ) and the World Food Program (WFP), as a preliminary step to “reprogramming the entire fund to support the Afghan people this winter.”
Wheat and fuel prices have risen by around 40 percent and food now accounts for more than 80 percent of average Afghan household spending. As support for international development has frozen, the basic social services on which all Afghans depend are collapsing, according to the UN official.
Finally, Griffiths has envisioned a future in which collaboration with “the ‘de facto’ authorities” of the country will be “imperative”, in reference to the Taliban to “clarify what we expect from each other.” Otherwise, “Afghanistan will collapse, people will be left without hope and the region, and indeed the world, will see an increase in destabilization,” he stressed.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.