Following the takeover of the Islamic Emirate (IEA), many touted to attribute the recent humanitarian crises such as poverty and hunger to IEA, blaming it for soaring calamities. On the other hand, almost all international organizations, such as World Bank, United Nations, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and so forth have consensus in labelling Afghanistan as one of the poorest countries in the world. As in September 2021, United Nations Development Program (UNDP) reported that 97 percent of Afghans could plunge into poverty by mid-2022. Besides, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) stated that Afghanistan’s economy could contract up to 30 percent by 2022.
However, one simply can’t deny the fact that Afghans, in reality, are gravely suffering from poverty and shortage of food as a large number of Afghan families even can’t get a one-time meal in a day. There are reliable reports that the catastrophic situation has enforced most parents in some provinces to sell their body organs, such as kidneys and blood, and/or babies just to feed other members of the family. Given that, don’t you think that the problems and the crises people are suffering from have roots in the past?!
I think most people must have forgotten that during the 20-year American-led invasion of Afghanistan, the people’s living condition and livelihood had no, or very little, difference from that of today. Given the amount of funds and cash infused, this country should have turned into one of the prosperous states in the region, undergoing wide infrastructural developments [similar to that of European states]. Likewise, Afghanistan should have been one of the countries to have reached out other poor nations, addressing poverty and hunger. The bitter truth is that even after 20 years of US-NATO presence, we literally stand in a point where we used to be 20 years ago.
Studying the root causes of the current dilemma, I have come this conclusion that one of key reasons of the deteriorating and/or uncertain condition in the country has been the long-standing presence of US along with her NATO allies – as they intended to exploit Afghanistan as a springboard for their strategic and military purposes. That’s why, I see no infrastructural effort has been made to help Afghanistan stand on its own feet as all assistance and donations were temporary-based aimed at removing the barriers out of their ways to ensure their targets are met. How would one happen to believe that a super power [US] along with 40+ NATO allies, scores of international organizations with almost all regional countries working together to seemingly help revive Afghanistan for 20 years, however, Afghanistan is still on the top list of poorest nations?
On the other hand, the statistics by NSIA and the World Bank show that poverty was hitting more than 60% of the population before IEA’s takeover of the country. As on July 2020, the fugitive president Ashraf Ghani himself admitted that 90% of the country’s population were living under the poverty line. So Afghanistan, due to being massively dependent on foreign funds, has been unable to turn into a self-sufficient state.
Therefore, I assume that because the US had no intention to have Afghanistan turned into a self-sufficient state, the country still remained as the poorest one in the world, suffering from devastating poverty. As for now, the US is trying to blame the IEA for the humanitarian crises, which have been the result of 20-year US occupation, to push the IEA to acknowledge her Western demands – something which has no room in this land.
Finally, yet importantly, I must declare that it’s the sheer responsibility of the IEA to reach out the people and address the persisted dilemma. I believe the better way out of the current crises, in the long run, is to paving way for internal industries and businesses as well as facilitating opportunities and strengthening local investments. Also, those of the businessmen and merchants who have fled the country simply because they felt the future of their businesses were uncertain in the country should also be given an invitation so they would help the economy prosper.
By: Saleem Kakar