News ID: 100472
Publish Date : 27 February 2022 - 21:44

UNICEF: Afghan Children Cannot Be Held Hostage to Politics

KABUL (Dispatches) – The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says children in the crisis-hit Afghanistan “cannot be held hostage to politics,” as the UN food agency has warned that 95 percent of people in the country do not have enough to eat.
UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell made the comment at the end of her three-day trip to Afghanistan.
“This is no way to live. The children of Afghanistan cannot be held hostage to politics. Decisions and actions taken today will dictate whether these children live or die, whether they suffer or thrive, and ultimately, whether the country survives or declines,” she said.
Almost 24 million people in Afghanistan – or 60 percent of the population – suffer from acute hunger, while millions have already been displaced. Earlier this month, the UN’ World Food Programme (WFP) also warned “hunger continues rising in Afghanistan” and that “95% of the population don’t have enough to eat.”
Afghanistan has about $9 billion in assets overseas, including the $7 billion in the U.S. The rest is mostly in Germany, the United Arab Emirates, and Switzerland. Almost all of these assets have been frozen, putting the country’s economy into a free fall.
The United States has announced plans to ease its sanctions for businesses in Afghanistan as the people face food insecurity and hunger there following the two-decade-long U.S. war of aggression against the impoverished country.
The U.S. Treasury Department’s ease of sanctions is the seventh so-called general license to aid Afghanistan, clarifying the institutions and sectors of the Kabul government with which entities can do business without violating the harsh economic sanctions imposed on the Afghan nation following the U.S. military’s chaotic exit and the subsequent Taliban’s sudden seizure of the country in August 2021.
The UN warned in October last year that without financial aid or humanitarian relief, Afghanistan is on a “countdown to catastrophe.”
Furthermore, the UN, along with international organizations, face mounting challenges in addressing Afghanistan’s growing humanitarian crisis. The world body projects this year that over one million Afghan children will need treatment for malnutrition and up to 97 percent of Afghans could be living below the poverty line. A landmark UNICEF $2 billion appeal to donors for aid is only 17 percent funded.
“And things are poised to get even worse. According to our projections for 2022, more than 1 million children will need treatment for severe acute malnutrition. Nearly 13 million children will need humanitarian assistance. Diseases like measles and acute watery diarrhea will continue to spread. Up to 97 percent of all Afghan families could be living below the poverty line in a matter of months,” Russell said in her statement.