Afghanistan: Humanitarian Crisis Needs Urgent Response

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Afghanistan’s foreign donors should take immediate action to ensure that necessary aid reaches Afghans facing hunger and collapsing health services following the Taliban takeover on August 15, 2021, Human Rights Watch said today. They also need to develop a coordinated plan of action to address support for education, the banking system, and other critical needs that require the cooperation of Taliban authorities, who threaten basic human rights, particularly the rights of women and girls.

Much of the previous Afghan government is no longer functioning due to funding uncertainties, while humanitarian aid and other assistance provided by United Nations agencies and nongovernmental organizations have been severely curtailed due to security concerns, staff evacuations, closures, and legal uncertainties. On August 31, UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned that “a humanitarian catastrophe looms” in Afghanistan and urged donor governments to “dig deep” to fund an emergency flash appeal. The United States and European Union have stated that they will continue providing humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.

“Donor governments are understandably uneasy about providing assistance and funding to Afghanistan under the Taliban given their terrible rights record and newly emerging abuses,” said Patricia Gossman, associate Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “To prevent a dire situation from becoming even worse, donors should urgently agree to support international agencies and nongovernmental groups that can provide emergency aid for food, health, and education, and create a plan to address assistance directly involving the Taliban.”

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