As the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan worsens, the United Nations (UN) has announced that international aid organizations need approximately $550 million dollars to help the victims. In addition, a total of 9.3 million Afghans will need assistance from aid relief efforts that are being conducted by the UN. There are many people who have been displaced and families have been separated, and the number is only increasing as refugees are set to return to Afghanistan from the neighbouring Iran and Pakistan. The Afghan government will face challenges on how to combat the crisis while providing basic services, which are already too difficult to handle as the government is already engaged in a battle with dissent groups, like the Taliban and other militias.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, a report estimated that the people in need of international aid has increased by 13% since last year. The report also details the number of civilian casualties at 8,397 victims, just in the first 9 months of 2016, and the numbers only seem to be rising. So far, in January of 2017, two suicide bombers killed 50 people in Kabul. The violent attacks remain problematic. Back in 2008, U.S. President Barack Obama had pledged to make fighting the Taliban and al-Qaeda his top priority and that the U.S. troops would help to get rid of the violence on the streets and, eventually, stabilize the country. So how well did the Obama administration do in combatting terror in Afghanistan?
The death of Bin Laden and other top militant leaders were seen as massive blows to al-Qaeda’s network as operations were pushed back and their level of influence in Afghanistan decreased. However, the opposite results can be observed in efforts to fight the Taliban. The Taliban remains to be the most active terrorist group in Afghanistan since 2000, as the Global Terrorism database has determined that the number of attacks in 2015 were 1,926 compared to 14 attacks in 2000. Only 70% of the Afghan population are in designated safe zones under Afghan government’s control and U.S. military protection. 10% are under direct control of the Taliban and 20% are located in the threshold areas that are waiting to be seized either by the Taliban or the Afghan government.
Afghan children continue to be the most vulnerable victims of violence and malnutrition. Earlier this month, the UN reported that the on-going violence has led to one of the worst nutritional crises in the world. Every day, children are victims of familial displacements, suicide bombings, sexual abuse, child labour, and much more. But hunger remains as the greatest danger for children in the region with a quarter of Afghanistan placed above the emergency brink of malnutrition rates. The UN has also reported that 1.3 million out of 1.8 million people are children under the age of 5 and are malnourished. By autumn of 2016, only 250,000 of the 1.3 million were provided with treatment. All of these factors that victimize children contribute to Afghanistan’s highest infant and maternal mortality rates. With that said, it is now imperative for the international community to focus on measures and policies to address these issues and determine how the 9.3 million people can get access to full health services.
The Heritage Foundation has placed emphasis on what the incoming U.S. administration needs to do in order to tackle the situation in Afghanistan. First, the new U.S. President Donald Trump must recognize that Afghanistan is in extreme crisis mode and remains vulnerable due to a lack of security and international aid. Furthermore, any sort of economic and social gains that have been achieved in the country thus far have a limited time span because of the enemies they face. It is important to prevent anymore Taliban influence in vulnerable regions to reassure safe havens for other militant and terrorist organizations. With that said, President Trump must realize that any U.S. involvement in Afghanistan going forward must comply and work alongside other international bodies that want to contribute their effort and support. The goal for such an agreement between political entities are to decrease the number of casualties, restore the health networks that are especially necessary for longevity in children, and find strategies to combat enemies that continue to spread mass destruction, as well as violating basic human rights.
Agence France Presse. “UN launches $550 million Afghan aid appeal.” The Daily Star, January 21, 2017. Accessed January 21, 2017.
Mengli, Ahmed, and Bruton F. Brinley. “Obama’s Afghanistan Legacy: What Trump Faces in America’s Longest War.” NBC News, January 19, 2017. Accessed January 21, 2017.
Murphy, Tom. “Surge of migration makes hunger crisis worse in Afghanistan.” Humanosphere, January 10, 2017. Accessed January 22, 2017.
Smith, Josh. “Aid groups need $55o million to confront worsening Afghan crisis: U.N.” Reuters, January 18, 2017. Accessed January 21, 2017.
Stone, Jon. “Children Starving to death in Afghanistan in need of international aid, UN warns.” Independent, January 10, 2017. Accessed January 21, 2017.
“Thousands of Afghan children face acute malnutrition amid ‘unprecedented’ displacement – UN.” UN News Centre, January 19, 2017. Accessed January 21, 2017.
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