Afghan crisis emerged as the biggest human-made disaster

The situation in Afghanistan has emerged as the biggest human-made crisis, where almost half of the 40 million people are facing a shortage of food and almost one-fourth are reached at the starvation stage. The war-torn country is facing a severe shortage of food, medicines, fuel, electricity and severe winter has aggregated the situation further.

Upon recapturing of Afghanistan, the US was offended and as a punishment has froze their national assets worth 9.5 billion US dollars almost, suspended aid,  and imposed sanctions. Even, the US lobbied and asked its allies to take similar actions against Afghanistan.

At a special meeting in Pakistan of the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which was held on 19 December 2021, in Islamabad, delegates said they would work “to unlock the financial and banking channels to resume liquidity and flow of financial and humanitarian assistance”. Several initiatives were taken to discuss the Afghan crisis, but, OIC meeting was the biggest conference on Afghanistan since the US-backed government fell in August and the Taliban returned to power.

OIC resolved Sunday to work with the United Nations to try to unlock hundreds of millions of dollars in frozen Afghan assets in a bid to address a growing humanitarian crisis.

The OIC declaration said the Islamic Development Bank would lead the effort to free up 

Earlier, Pakistan warned of “grave consequences” for the international community if Afghanistan’s economic meltdown continued, and urged world leaders to find ways to engage with the Taliban to help prevent a humanitarian catastrophe.

A meeting was held on the sidelines of the OIC meeting between the Taliban and the US representatives, which is an encouraging step, yet, a long way to go. Engagement and dialogue is the only option and both sides are urged to take prompt action to save human lives in Afghanistan.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the deepening crisis could bring mass hunger, a flood of refugees, and a rise in extremism.

“We cannot ignore the danger of complete economic meltdown,” he told the gathering, which also included Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi as well as delegates from the United States, China, Russia, the European Union, and the UN.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said the world needed to separate the Taliban from ordinary Afghans.

“I speak to the United States specifically that they must delink the Afghanistan government from the 40 million Afghan citizens,” he said, “even if they have conflicted with the Taliban for 20 years.” It must be treated purely human disaster and instant emergency relief must be arranged.

He also urged caution in linking recognition of the new government to Western ideals of human rights. “Every country is different… every society’s idea of human rights is different,” he said.

 Pakistan is the only country that understands Afghanistan better than any other country, and the only country which suffered most adversely due to unrest and instability in Afghanistan for the last four decades. Pakistan kept on educating the rest of the world on the Afghan crisis and highlighted the need for emergency humanitarian assistance.

Pakistan has been generous toward Afghanistan and offered huge humanitarian assistance according to its resources. But, much more is needed, beyond Pakistan’s capacity. Pakistan is already hosting 3-5 million Afghan refugees, much more than any other country in the world. Since the Taliban recaptured Afghanistan on 15 August 2021, despite strict border measures, yet there is an influx of almost a hundred thousand Afghan refugees. Pakistan has provided land and air route to Afghan aid ad supplies.

In fact, the neighboring nations are extending humanitarian assistance, but, is much short of actual requirements. It is the collective responsibility of the whole world to save human lives, especially, the countries, who created a human-made crisis in Afghanistan, which should bear all the responsibilities. If the US can spend two trillion Dollars to destroy Afghanistan, why not spend a fraction of it to save their lives.

Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan
Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan
Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan.