Afghanistan has spiraled into one of the world’s most severe humanitarian crises since American troops left the country last August, according to The New Yorker. Experts estimate that around 22.8 million people – more than half of Afghanistan’s population – will likely face famine this winter.
The nation’s health care system is also in shambles. Of Afghanistan’s more than 2,300 health clinics, only 17 percent were functional within a month of the U.S. military’s departure. The UN Development Programme believes that by the middle of 2022, Afghans may experience “universal poverty,” meaning 97 percent of people would be living below the international poverty line of $1.90 a day as designated by the World Bank.
“You now have a crisis in virtually every dimension,” said Anthony Cordesman, emeritus chair in strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “There’s now an aid crisis, a financial crisis, job crisis, governance crisis and legal crisis.”
In the past, assistance from the U.S. and other countries made up 45 percent of Afghanistan’s gross national product. Those resources also funded 75 percent of the government’s budget, which included health care and education costs. However, since pulling troops from Afghanistan, the U.S. has implemented sanctions that have ravaged virtually every aspect the country’s infrastructure.
“$10 billion worth of assets that belong to the Afghan central bank have been frozen in the foreign vaults,” and the “country’s $440 million worth of reserves held with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are likewise blocked,” according to Jacobin.
Afghan civilians are suffering most at the hand of these sanctions – not the Taliban. Some are so desperate that they have reportedly sold their own children to prevent the entire family from starving. The devastating crisis will only worsen as long as Western governments continue to withhold aid.