1 Year Later: The Humanitarian Crisis in Afghanistan

The severity of the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan is becoming worse and worse by the day.

It has been a year since the Taliban took control of the region following the withdrawal of American troops. The situation is only deteriorating as international support wanes.

The Taliban promised amnesty for former government officials, respect for women’s rights and that it would sever any connections to international terrorist groups. The aim seemed to be to erase the Taliban’s negative image in the international community.

However, the reality is that they have not kept their promises and instead continued to rule with a heavy hand. The issue of women’s rights is a perfect example of this.

A plan to resume secondary education for girls was announced in March 2022, but this was suddenly canceled. The Taliban also recently revived the Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, an office of religious police that requires women to wear full-body covering while in public.

The Taliban insist that they are simply operating under Islamic law, but as a United Nations expert commented, women and girls have effectively been erased from society.

The United States announced in early August that the leader of al-Qaida was killed in Kabul in a U.S. drone strike. Although the Taliban deny that they were harboring al-Qaida members, there is a strong suspicion that they did not honor their agreement with the U.S. to sever ties with the extremist organization.

The international community has not recognized the Taliban as a legitimate political power precisely because these issues have never been resolved.

However, this is not a good reason to neglect the humanitarian crisis.

According to the World Food Programme, about 19 million people, nearly half of the population of Afghanistan, are at risk of starvation. More than 3.5 million children are also reported to be at risk of malnourishment.

Since the withdrawal of U.S. forces, international interest in Afghanistan has steadily declined. The WFP and private organizations continue to provide aid, but it is not enough to pull the nation out of its humanitarian crisis.

If Afghanistan ceases to exist as a nation, it could become a hotbed of terrorism again. Political instability could also spread to neighboring countries. Such situations must be prevented.

The United States bears a great deal of responsibility for the crisis in Afghanistan as a result of prioritizing its own situation and hastening the withdrawal of its troops. However, other developed nations, including Japan, should work with the United States to find ways to deliver aid directly to people in need.

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