At the emergency G20 summit on Afghanistan, convened on October 12 by Italy, which presides over this union, Brussels announced the allocation of another € 700 million for the needs of the people of the republic. in addition to the € 300 million previously promised. Before The Americans also promised to resume humanitarian aid to Afghans facing the threat of mass starvation. Preparing to provide humanitarian assistance to the country and Russia, Zamir Kabulov, the special envoy of the Russian president for Afghanistan, said this week. At the same time, the majority understands that it is impossible to guarantee that aid will reach the most needy Afghans. But failure to provide it has much more serious risks.
Worse and worse
Until recently, about 80% of all government spending in Afghanistan was funded by international organizations. But after the Taliban came to power (banned in the Russian Federation), financial support for Kabul was suspended… And the United States, in whose banks there were more than Afghanistan’s $ 7bn central bank assets, all accounts frozen to keep Taliban money.
But they have ceased to be available to ordinary Afghans who have lost their salaries at once… The new government has limited weekly bank withdrawals to $ 200, while Afghan currency plummeted in value… Gas throughout the country has risen in price by 60% in just a month. Food prices also jumped sharply: the cost of flour, for example, rose by 40%. As a result, spontaneously formed flea markets have become a familiar picture of any Afghan city, where residents try to sell their modest household belongings (and sometimes their own children) in order to help out money for food.
Фото: Global Look Press/Saifurahman Safi
Back in April this year, according to the government of the republic, every third Afghan was experiencing an acute food shortage. In recent months, the number of such people has increased dramatically. – both due to the impact of the drought affecting 25 out of 34 provinces, and due to conflicts, government collapse, freezing of funds and a sharp rise in prices, Fabrizio, Deputy Representative of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Afghanistan, told Izvestia Cesaretti.
– In September-December FAO is committed to helping a total of 3.24 million people with both food and money. But the program is still underfunded, and $ 21 million is needed to assist these people in order to avoid further deterioration of the already difficult humanitarian situation in the country, in particular, in rural areas where 7 out of 10 Afghans live, – said the source of Izvestia.
Meanwhile, according to the forecast of the World Food Program, if no action is taken, then by the beginning of 2022 Afghanistan will face almost “widespread poverty” with a poverty level of 97-98%.
Material and non-financial assistance
«This is a humanitarian catastrophe, the country has no external support. It takes the richest countries to do something“, – admitted the obvious at the end of September, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, convening an emergency G20 summit on Afghanistan.
As a result of the October 12 meeting, the Europeans were the most generous in terms of “doing something”. The European Union announced its intention to allocate another € 700 million for the needs of the Afghan people, in addition to the € 300 million previously promised… However, the meeting participants immediately agreed that this money will be transferred strictly into the hands of international organizations.
The United States, in turn, announced the resumption of humanitarian aid to Afghans – albeit without specifying a specific amountc – last weekend following the results of two days of negotiations with the Taliban in Qatar. There were even rumors that Washington allegedly expressed its readiness to take on the costs of paying salaries to Afghan civil servants for the next six months. But there was no official confirmation of this.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi at the G20 Afghanistan Leaders Press Conference at Palazzo Chigi, Rome, Italy
Фото: Global Look Press/Riccardo Antimiani/POOL Ansa/LaP
— The Taliban will not be given money. The Taliban are still a terrorist organization, and any money they can interpret as financing of terrorism… Afghan money in American accounts will not be thawed either, so as not to lose the leverage on the Taliban. But Americans need to preserve their reputation – this is important for their international reputation, and therefore humanitarian aid is offered instead of money.– said Andrei Serenko, head of the Center for the Study of Afghan Politics, in an interview with Izvestia.
According to the expert, now there are two main crises in Afghanistan that directly affect ordinary citizens – the real threat of hunger and the collapse of the healthcare system. And all international humanitarian efforts will be aimed at solving these problems.
Some countries, by the way, without any summits began to help Kabul with the supply of medicines, clothing and food (in particular, Iran, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Qatar and Iran did this)… But not everything went smoothly along the way: according to testimonies on social media, the aid provided by the Chinese in September for suffering Afghan families was primarily distributed among the Taliban militants. Similar accusations were made from Iran, which has already sent four parties to the Afghans.
— There are no guarantees that the Taliban will not distribute humanitarian aid to their own people or sell it to Pakistan to raise money.… That is, the problem of control over the distribution of this aid exists. But today no one has worked out a universal formula, and therefore the world continues to experiment on the go.– Andrey Serenko explained why, even with such pitfalls, everyone will continue to help the Afghans financially.
The motives for the buyout
Moscow will also support the residents of the republic. As the special envoy of the President of the Russian Federation for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov said the other day, the decision in principle on the provision of humanitarian assistance by Russia to the country has been made, the details of the deliveries are being worked out… But this will be announced, obviously, following the results of the “Moscow format” meeting on Afghanistan, which will be held on October 20.
At the same time, Russia has repeatedly expressed the idea that the financing of the post-conflict reconstruction of Afghanistan should be primarily those who have ruled everything in the country in recent years.
— Over the 20 years of the US presence, the economic situation in Afghanistan has only worsened. And its further deterioration, naturally, will lead to an increase in drug trafficking, despite the statements of the Taliban about their readiness to end this infection. And, of course, the number of refugees will increasebecause people will have no choice but to look for a better life abroad, and these are big problems, first of all for Europe. And you will have to pay to prevent this, ”Aleksey Chepa, Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs, told Izvestia.
Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov
Photo: Izvestia / Dmitry Korotaev
However, Wolfgang Richter, an expert at the German Institute for International Affairs and Security, called the discussions about the potential problems of a new wave of immigration in Europe exaggerated.
– A number of European governments (and, of course, Germany) still feel political responsibility for the fate of the Afghan population. Against this background, Europe and the United States, in exchange for some financial and humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people, are negotiating with the Taliban (without their official recognition) mainly on three issues: preventing terrorist organizations from acting in the region, allowing the unhindered emigration of those Afghans who cooperated with the Western powers and want to leave the country, and the issue of maintaining minimum political standards in the republic, ”the German expert told Izvestia.
It is this motivation that explains the current diplomatic efforts of the West, summed up Wolfgang Richter.