Avert the catastrophe in Afghanistan
by Zamir Awan on 21 Sep 2022 0 Comment

Afghans are not the people of a lesser God. Each human being came to this world with an identical biological process and each mother has suffered similar pains. The human being is the most precious thing in this universe. Everything else in this universe is meant to serve human beings, whether it is animals, plants, minerals, Sun, Mountains, Water, Oxygen, etc., all are to serve humankind in a different way.


Four decades of wars, conflicts, and unrest have put Afghanistan into misery. Whether it was the Afghan war against former USSR occupation in the 1980s, the internal political struggle among factions of Taliban or mujahedeen, or the US-led war on terror from 2001 till 2021, all was disastrous for the people of Afghanistan.


Afghanistan has been suffering through a grave humanitarian crisis that worsened after the fall of Kabul. According to UN reports, Afghanistan could face “universal poverty,” with 97% of Afghans living below the World Bank-designated international poverty line of $1.90 a day. Estimated 362,000 people need humanitarian assistance following the June 2022 earthquake that hit Paktika and Khost provinces. Victims of malnutrition in Afghanistan include 1.1 million children under five and 0.8 million pregnant and lactating women. Two-thirds of the country is in a critical and catastrophic situation for water scarcity.


Selling Afghan male children to become cheap labour and pushing girls into forced marriages has become more common. Some of them are smuggled to Europe and America and misused as sex workers too.


The Health system in Afghanistan is exhausted and has left millions of Afghans with mounting health needs. Hospitals were destroyed, and Doctors and paramedic staff migrated to other countries. The nation is in severe need of health care.


An estimated 677,000 people have been driven out of their homes this year. Either to live in various camps inside Afghanistan or forced to flee to other countries and live the rest of life as miserable refugees.


Economic decline, drought, and high food prices have resulted in 18.9 million people (45% of the population) to be facing a crisis or food insecurity from June to November 2022.


Way Forward to Meet Afghan Crisis


-       The international community must engage with Taliban leadership to help them mitigate the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

-       The humanitarian needs of the Afghan masses are deepening. An entire complex social and economic system is shutting down in part due to the asset freeze, the suspension of non-humanitarian aid flows, and sanctions. Therefore, unfreezing of Afghan assets by the US is necessary to uplift the crippled Afghan economy.

-       Highlighting that the world leaders need transparent lenses to help the Afghan population while emphasizing that the humanitarian efforts to rebuild Afghanistan should be free from politics.

-       In the larger interest of global peace and regional stability, it must be ensured that Afghanistan’s territory and vulnerabilities should not be exploited by the western and regional powers to pursue their own agendas.

-       Accentuate that peace and stability in Afghanistan are directly linked to regional and extra-regional peace, growth and development; hence calls for a collective response.

-       Although few friendly countries are already extending humanitarian assistance, a lot more needs to be done.

-       Collective efforts are required to address the crisis in Afghanistan, International community must play its positive and proactive role.

-       Pakistan being a responsible state, is playing important role in assisting Afghans to overcome their crisis, but, has its own limitations too.

-       Sustainable development, a long-term strategy, is required to solve the Afghan catastrophe permanently.


The 77th session of the UN General Assembly


The 77th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) opened on Tuesday with its new president urging world leaders to respond to humanity’s most pressing challenges, including the war in Ukraine, by working together and building bridges across what are “deep divides”.


Acknowledging that the world faces uncertainty and widening geopolitical fissures, Csaba Korösi reminded delegates that the United Nations was created out of the ashes of war and destruction, with the intention of being “a well of solutions”. “Responding to humanity’s most pressing challenges demands that we work together and that we reinvigorate inclusive, networked, and effective multilateralism and focus on that what unites us”, he said. He highlighted several hot issues, including Ukraine and others.


However, the catastrophic situation in Afghanistan deserves more attention. The situation was due to foreign intervention, either the former USSR or the US-led war on terror. But, the victims were the common innocent people of Afghanistan. It is the obligation of invaders and aggressors, to look after them. The mess they have created is supposed to be handled by them.


The US has spent trillions of Dollars in destroying Afghanistan. If a fraction of this huge fund is spared for reconstruction, or rebuilding Afghanistan, it can save human lives in the war-devastated country. It is not a new idea, Germany and Japan are paying for war crimes and compensation to victims. Why not do the US and USSR pay for war crimes and war compensation to the victims of their imposed war on them?


It is urged that the 77th Session of UNGA should spare some time to open debate on the Afghan catastrophe and should come forward with a sustainable solution. According to the UN Charter, it is legally binding for the UN to address the Catastrophe in Afghanistan and do everything possible to avert it. Hope all nations, countries, and individuals, whosoever have consciousness, will consider my appeal seriously and do something to rescue human lives in Afghanistan.


Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Founding Chair GSRRA, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Editor, Analyst, Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization)


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