Humanitarian Aid to Afghanistan

Posted by on Jan 19, 2022 in Current Events, World

When the U.S. government ended its occupation of Afghanistan in August 2021, the country was quickly overrun by the Taliban. Afghanistan was already a poor and war-ravaged nation, but Taliban control made a bad situation even worse. It devastated the Afghan economy. Now, the country faces a widespread humanitarian crisis as millions of civilians starve. To combat this, the White House has announced that it will be sending $308 million in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan. Here’s a closer look at that plan.

What’s Happening in Afghanistan?

Afghanistan flag
The flag of Afghanistan; credit: Digital Archive Japan/Alamy Images

Currently, the war-torn nation of 38 million people is facing a financial disaster. Once the Taliban took over, other nations imposed economic sanctions against Afghanistan, costing citizens millions of dollars in economic funds. In addition, over eighty percent of the country faces a severe drought, which has forced nearly 700,000 people to abandon their land. Combined, this has caused the bottom to fall out of the Afghan economy. Millions are without jobs, income, or any ability to pay for food or rent. Now, the temperature is dropping below zero degrees, and an estimated 22.8 million people—more than half of Afghanistan’s population–face acute starvation.

What is Being Done to Help?

The United Nations has requested $4.4 billion from the international community to help address the crisis in Afghanistan. This is the largest amount of aid the UN has ever requested for a single country. It is also requesting $623 million in aid for the estimated 5.7 million Afghan refugees who have fled to neighboring countries. Last week, the Biden administration announced that the United States will send $308 million in humanitarian aid. The trick is getting the funding directly to the people who need it, while bypassing the corrupt Taliban government. The money will move through independent humanitarian organizations instead, so that it will be spent directly on relief efforts like food, water, and sanitation. It will also help to “winterize” items such as shelter kits, blankets, and warm clothing. The U.S. will also send one million more COVID-19 vaccinations, in addition to the 3.3 million doses it has already sent.

This is not the first time that the White House has sent aid to Afghanistan recently. Since October 2021, the U.S. has sent about $474 million. President Biden has also promised that this is just the initial contribution, and that more will be provided throughout 2022.

The U.S. government does not officially recognize the Taliban as a legitimate government. But in the meantime, the White House continues to reach out to the Taliban to urge them to allow humanitarian aid to assist vulnerable populations.

Dig Deeper Use Internet resources to learn more about humanitarian organizations that are working to help the Afghan people directly, such as the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Rescue Committee, Women for Women International, or UNICEF. Choose and one organization and create a poster telling your classmates about the organization’s mission, history, what they are doing to help, and how to get involved. Your poster should be convincing, so remember to include images as well as words.