Chronic. Should we help the Afghans at the risk of comforting the Taliban? The question today is academic. It is part of the debate for television show or, at best, of the dissertation in the first year of moral and political sciences. Afghanistan cannot wait. Famine is coming.
This country, one of the most miserable in the world and emerging from half a century of war, is under the threat of an immense humanitarian tragedy, the latest episode in a pile of misfortunes to which Westerners are no strangers. According to figures from the United Nations World Food Program, 98% of the estimated 40 million Afghans are at risk of some form of malnutrition. Cited by the Financial Times from December 19, an official from the International Crisis Group (ICG) said he feared a “Famine capable of killing more people than the fighting that has taken place since 2001” – when a Western coalition led by the United States drove a first “talib” government from Kabul.
Winter is here. In the most remote valleys of the country, the villages are without drugs and basic foodstuffs are lacking. The grain reserves are exhausted, fuel too. At the end of November, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated at more than 3 million the number of children suffering from acute malnutrition: a million of them could die when the temperatures will drop further. Humanitarian aid professionals do not have the luxury of questioning the nature of the Kabul regime: a generation is in danger.
Also listen Afghanistan sinks into poverty and famine
Whose fault is it ? When the United States hastily left Afghanistan at the end of August, without warning or planning anything, the Taliban seized power. They had been expelled from there twenty years ago because of active collusion with the jihadists of Al-Qaida, responsible for the attacks of September 11, 2001. Refugees in Pakistan, which protects them, feeds them and arms them, the Taliban left in combat in 2003 and won, by political exhaustion of the United States.
The chaotic withdrawal of the Americans this summer did not just cause the regime they had put in place to flee. He disintegrated an economy fed on Western subsidies. The dignitaries of the former team took refuge in their villas in the Gulf. All of a sudden, the millions of dollars in international aid that Kabul was receiving vanished. Civil servants – and the state is the country’s main employer – are no longer paid. As a sanction, Afghanistan’s accounts abroad are blocked. Add to this the drought of the past three years and, for too long, the weight of an almost permanent state of war, the result is there: famine is descending on the slopes of Hindu Kush.
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“Afghanistan cannot wait. Famine is coming ”