Ninety-five percent of Afghans don’t have enough to eat. Nearly nine million are at risk of starvation. The U.N.’s emergency aid request, at more than $5 billion, is the largest it has ever made for a single country. “The current humanitarian crisis could kill far more Afghans than the past 20 years of war,” David Miliband, president of the International Rescue Committee, wrote recently.
And we bear much of the blame. We have turned a crisis into a catastrophe.
The drought in Afghanistan is the worst in decades. The Taliban is a brutal regime that has no idea how to manage an economy, and in many ways is barely trying. “Remember, the Emirate had not promised you the provision of food,” Mullah Muhammad Hassan, the head of the Taliban regime, said. “The Emirate has kept its promises. It is God who has promised his creatures the provision of food.”
But neither drought nor Taliban mismanagement fully explain the horror unfolding in Afghanistan. “The long and short of it is Western economic restrictions are creating an economic crisis in the country which is driving tens of millions Afghans into starvation,” Graeme Smith, an Afghanistan expert at the International Crisis Group, told me. [Continue reading…]