After four decades of war and misery, Afghanistan is once again in the middle of a serious crisis, this time a humanitarian catastrophe that is about to unfold. Warnings are pouring in. The United Nations and many of its concerned agencies have expressed deep concern about the imminent economic collapse as well as dire humanitarian situation in Afghanistan. Calls have also been made from civil society and concerned governments, especially of the neighbors. Voices have also arisen in the United States, such as a collective article published in the Atlantic Council by several concerned Americans.
Why is it then that no one is stepping forward at the required scale and quantum to help the people of Afghanistan who are up against a harsh winter? Two complications are obvious.
One, the UN sanctions regime 1267 imposed against the Taliban has not been rescinded, making the banks and companies nervous in doing business with Afghan entities. A serious liquidity crisis has cropped up. Civil servants, teachers, soldiers or municipal committees cannot be paid their salaries. Banks are not entertaining letters of credit to import or export anything into or out of Afghanistan. Regardless of who is in power in Kabul, it is the people of Afghanistan who are now bearing the brunt of world’s indifference.