Humanitarian Aid to Afghanistan

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Afghanistan is facing the situation of an economic and humanitarian catastrophe. An economic collapse in Afghanistan will yield instability, conflict, and a refugee influx into neighboring countries and onward to other regions. UN Secretary-General António Guterres at a high-level ministerial conference in Geneva last month warned of a “serious possibility” of an economic collapse if the international community did not come to the rescue of a penurious Afghan population. UN Humanitarian Coordinator Martin Griffiths described the situation in Afghanistan as “very dire”. Despite the calls for urgent humanitarian assistance, the international community is taking its time to debate whether the aid can be leveraged to extract concessions from the hardline rulers of Afghanistan on the key issues of human rights, women’s rights and an inclusive government.  The Russia-hosted meeting last week pressed the Taliban to form a “truly inclusive” government in Afghanistan and called for the United Nations to convene a donor conference as soon as possible to help avert a humanitarian catastrophe facing the war-torn country. Likewise, Pakistan’s calls for the international community to give ‘time’ to the Taliban or ‘incentivize’ them to soften their stand on critical issues of concern, have found little traction with the international community, including Afghanistan’s immediate neighbors. This in itself has created a dilemma for Pakistan, convincing a skeptical international community and persuading an ideologically stubborn Taliban to find common ground. Pakistan has announced to provide more than $28m in immediate humanitarian aid to Afghanistan and will ease travel and trade restrictions at its land borders. Foreign Minister Qureshi during his visit to Tehran ensured the regional actors that,  “Pakistani people stand with the Afghan people in this difficult time,” “We have never left room on this, and this remains our thought.” Now, there is a dire need for exploring possibilities of collaboration with key international actors that can support the reconstruction and economic development efforts in the war-torn country.

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