Editorial of the “World”. The war in Afghanistan has ended, but not the suffering of the people. The alarming signals keep piling up. A report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, released on October 25, predicts that half of the population, around 20 million people according to IMF and UN estimates, are at risk of famine.
Decades of fighting and their millions of displaced people, poverty and repeated climatic disasters have produced what is already one of the world’s worst crises. The implosion of the economy, caused by the end of the financing of the State by the United States and the blocking by Washington and Europe of the funds of the Afghan Central Bank, strengthens it. The winter season, which accentuates the isolation of rural areas, can only make it even worse. Testimonies are piling up of families forced to sell their property, and even, in the most desperate cases, their children in an attempt to survive.
The dilemma facing the traditional providers of international aid, predominantly Western, is as much moral as it is political. He opposes those who, like China or Russia, demand the return of funds from the Afghan Central Bank to those who refuse. It also divides Europeans, and its consideration at a special session of the G20 in Italy on October 12 did not go beyond declarations of intent.
The population taken hostage
The terms of this dilemma are simple. Should we help and mechanically reinforce a Taliban power which has so far failed to obtain international recognition? Or refuse to do so, in order to retain levers likely to force the new masters of Afghanistan to make concessions on the status of women, the inclusion of ethnic minorities, or even the fight against small terrorist groups still present in the country. country ?
The analysis underlying this second option may appear relentless. Bolstered by their status as the winners of the longest war ever waged by the United States, the Taliban have so far refrained from any political or diplomatic openness in the eyes of the international community. No doubt they will know how to present the arrival of significant international aid such as the validation of their strategy.
This postulate, however, raises two serious reservations. The construction of a balance of power based on aid appears singularly theoretical with regard to ex-insurgents who triumphed over the most powerful army in the world, supported by those of its allies, at the end of a twenty-year war. . This choice then places the Afghan population at the mercy of a confrontation of which they are hostage, especially women, who are very exposed to food insecurity.
In September, the United States Treasury Department granted licenses allowing non-governmental organizations to assist the Afghan people without incurring prosecution related to the sanctions in force against the new power in place in Kabul. This relaxation, and the announcement on October 28 of emergency aid of 144 million dollars (124 million euros), from the big loser of the Afghan war, is probably the maximum he can agree to, but this realism opens up a path, however narrow it may be. Urgency demands pragmatism, and politicization of humanitarian aid must be avoided.
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Afghanistan: the politicization of aid must be avoided