What does 2022 hold for Afghanistan?

Afghanistan has plunged into a deep humanitarian crisis. Foreign aid has been frozen, humanitarian organisations are filling the gap, but they alone cannot support an entire country.

This content was published on January 11, 2022 minutes

Millions of Afghans have not been paid for months as foreign aid – which used to fund 75% of Afghanistan’s public spending – was frozen following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021.

Podcast host Imogen Foulkes is joined in this episode by humanitarian aid workers.

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“You see girls being essentially sold, girls as young as six, seven, eight. You see children being sold into labour. Already, I’ve seen more malnourished children in the past three, four months than I’ve ever seen in Afghanistan,” says Vicki Aken, Afghanistan country director at the International Rescue Committee (IRC).

“Can the international community hold 39 million people hostage to the fact that they do not want to recognise the authorities that are now in place in Kabul and in Afghanistan,” asks Dominik Stillhart, director of operations at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

With the United Nations warning of famine, the ICRC has started paying healthcare workers directly. But can humanitarian aid alone support an entire country?

“No matter how much aid we deliver, we cannot have a country entirely dependent on the goods we bring into the country. It’s just impossible to deliver at that scale,” says Aken.

“If we want to save Afghanistan and the Afghan population, it is not just by giving money to humanitarian organisations,” adds Stillhart.

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