Afghanistan economy, the Taliban, and humanitarian crises

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Naseebullah Khan
The US pullout, overthrowing the Ashraf Ghani government in an unwarranted manner, and dearth of governance in the Taliban regime have detracted the economy of Afghanistan and resulted in a huge humanitarian crisis in the country. Millions of Afghans have been internally displaced and are in search of fleeing. The business of the people has been ruined whereas millions of Afghans require urgent humanitarian aid. Hunger, food insecurity, collapsing education and health sectors, economic downfall, increase in poverty and unemployment, falling of banking system, displacement and migration, malnutrition of the children have brought the country to the brink of a collapse. As per the report of human rights watch (hew), 40 percent of people in Afghanistan are facing acute food shortages food and food insecurity__whereas 1 in 2 children under 5 are facing acute malnutrition. According to the office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs (OCHA), the number of displaced people is now more than 570,000 – nearly 80 percent of whom are women and children. Furthermore, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that 500,000 people will leave the country in the next four months due to uncertainty in the country. World Food Programme (WFP) estimates that one-third of Afghanistan’s population of 38 million is facing food insecurity, including two million children who are already malnourished. On the other side, the business of the people has deteriorated which has resulted in an immense increase in unemployment and poverty. Poverty has increased from 54 to 72 since the Taliban took over the country. The economy of the country has collapsed. The US Central bank has frozen $9.4 billion in reserves. Whereas the World Bank has frozen the reserves of $460 million by spending all projects. More, the European Union has suspended €1.2 billion ($1.4 billion) in development assistance which had been planned for Afghanistan for the next 10 years. The Afghan currency has weakened. AnwitaBasu, head of Asia country risk at Fitch Solutions, warned that Afghanistan’s gross domestic product could contract between 10 percent and 20 percent in the next two years. The incompetency of the Taliban and its gloomy experience in running the economic affairs has further provided fuel to the economic frailty. It is for sure that the Taliban cannot handle humanitarian crises alone. For that, it is the responsibility of the world under the umbrella of the UN to take pragmatic steps as soon as possible to halt the possible humanitarian catastrophe. Whereas on the flip side, the responsibility of the Taliban is to run the economic affairs through competent minds of the country as there are no two opinions that the Taliban are not competent enough in handling the economic fragility of the country.