Investment in skills of young women, girls vital for Afghan food, economic security: Brookings

“Given the unfolding food and economic security issues in Afghanistan, the world cannot turn its back on the needs and aspirations of the Afghan people—in particular—the women and girls,”: Report

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ISLAMABAD: As Afghanistan faces a food security crisis, Brookings, the US-based research organization has urged the international community to exploit the potential of Afghan girls by increasing their participation in formal agriculture education.

“Currently, more than half of the Afghan population is confronted by acute hunger due to continuing conflict, the COVID-19 pandemic, an economic collapse, and a severe drought,” according to an article written by Nangyalai Attal published by Brookings.

Nangyalai Attal is an Echidna Global Scholar of Brookings Institution and Senior Policy Specialist at Technical and Vocational Education and Training Authority of Afghanistan.

The agricultural production accounting for 23 percent of Afghanistan’s gross domestic product, dominates discussions among policymakers for its potential to reduce poverty and stimulate job creation.

“Realization of the potential of the agriculture sector could increase economic growth by 7.5 percent by 2024, the article said.

The report is based on focus group discussions and interviews with more than 300 female agriculture students, teachers and faculty, as well as TVET directors and experts.

“Given the unfolding food and economic security issues in Afghanistan, the world cannot turn its back on the needs and aspirations of the Afghan people—in particular—the women and girls,” the report concluded.

Similarly, Pakistan had also been calling on the world not to abandon Afghanistan rather enhance engagement with the Taliban leadership to avert the humanitarian crisis and economic collapse.

Due to international disengagement and freezing assets of Afghanistan, Afghans are facing poverty, hunger, no access to health services, and poor economy.

Investment in skills of young women, girls vital for Afghan food, economic security: Brookings

Moreover, four decades of war, cold weather, COVID-19, and mass exodus of health care workers associated with international players and previous regimes are factors of the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan’s economy is aid dependent as the previous governments relied on grant funding for more than 75 percent of public spending. Approximately half of the 40 million Afghans are estimated to need humanitarian assistance.

As many as 8.7 million people would need long-term and consistent assistance.

The United Nations has warned that about 97 percent of Afghanistan’s population may sink below the poverty line if the country’s political and economic crises are not addressed.5

Pakistan has engaged with the Afghan government and formed the Afghanistan Inter-Ministerial Coordination Committee (AICC) to coordinate and facilitate Afghan people.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has approved Rs.5 billion humanitarian aid for Afghanistan. Giving a special waiver, the prime minister also allowed transportation of Indian announced wheat assistance for the war-torn country through Pakistan.7

The Pak Afghan Cooperation Forum (PACF) has been established by Pakistan which is active in facilitating and providing aid to Afghanistan.

Investment in skills of young women, girls vital for Afghan food, economic security: Brookings

Pakistan has provided four C-130s and 315 truckloads carrying humanitarian aid for Afghan people from September 19, 2021, to January 16, 2022. The total aid provided so far is 5605 tons which includes food, medicines, and other essential items.

Pakistan has opened five border trade stations along the Pak-Afghan border to ease the flow of goods across the border. They include Torkham, Chaman, Kharlachi, Ghulam Khan, and Angoor Adda.

Pakistan has opened five border trade stations along the Pak-Afghan border to ease the flow of goods across the border.

The PACF organized free eye camps in Kabul and Khost where Pakistani doctors had performed 530 cataract surgeries and examined 8120 patients without any charge.

The prime minister also ordered the to continue the facility of free COVID-19 vaccination for the Afghans entering Pakistan from land borders.

Investment in skills of young women, girls vital for Afghan food, economic security: Brookings

The medical visa facility has been provided to Afghan patients and Pakistan authorities have removed the requirement of getting a gate pass for crossing the border and the border would be opened for pedestrian movement for 12 hours instead of the previous eight.

The government has announced the provision of medicine to the tune of Rs 500 million at the earliest to Afghans. The private pharma industry donors have also announced additional assistance of medicine worth Rs. 40 million.

Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) has announced to open its campus in Afghanistan to promote education, impart training of teachers and reconstruct educational infrastructure there.

Pakistan has approved 63 million dollars and 3,000 scholarships, 5,000 monthly stipends to Afghan students.20

Besides, the University of Engineering and Technology (UET), Peshawar has provided a dedicated sub-campus for Afghan students. The University of Management Technology (UMT), Lahore also offered 100 scholarships for Afghan students and 10 scholarships in PhD for teachers and researchers.

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