The United Nations said Tuesday that Afghanistan requires $5 billion in aid by 2022 to avert a humanitarian disaster and provide a future for the country after 40 years of misery.
In its most considerable single-country appeal, the UN stated that $4.4 billion (3.9 billion euros) was required within Afghanistan. In comparison, an additional $623 million was needed to assist the millions of Afghans seeking refuge outside its borders.
According to the UN, 22 million people within Afghanistan and an additional 5.7 million displaced Afghans in five neighboring countries require critical assistance this year.
"A full-fledged humanitarian disaster looms. "My message is urgent: do not close the door on the Afghan people," UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths warned.
"Assist us in scaling up our efforts to avert widespread hunger, disease, malnutrition, and eventually death."
Afghanistan has descended into financial disarray since the Taliban hardline Islamist organization seized control of the country in mid-August, with inflation and unemployment skyrocketing.
Washington has frozen billions of dollars worth of the country's assets while severely disrupting relief shipments.
In 2021, Afghanistan also saw its worst drought in decades.
Griffiths told reporters in Geneva, without the aid package, "there will be no future."
'Forty years of uncertainty'
The Taliban officials stated that the humanitarian plea for Afghans in need was "extremely necessary."
"However, I would like to emphasize the importance of delivering all of the assistance approved in the past during this harsh winter," Suhail Shaheen, a senior Taliban leader and the group's chosen UN representative, told AFP.
He added that the infusion of funds would also aid in functioning the country's now-defunct banking system, noting that any cash entering the government would need assistance in reining in inflation.
"Because the banks are not functioning properly, there is also a need to rein in inflation, which can be accomplished by bringing dollars... hard currency to Afghanistan," Shaheen explained.
Griffiths stated that if the appeal is successful, it will enable relief agencies to increase their distribution of food and agriculture assistance, health services, malnutrition treatment, emergency shelters, access to safe drinking water and sanitation, protection, and education.
In 2022, an estimated 4.7 million individuals will suffer from acute malnutrition, including 1.1 million children.
Griffiths stated that in the absence of humanitarian assistance, suffering, death, hunger, and additional mass displacement would result, "robbing the people of Afghanistan of the hope that their country will be their home and support in the short and medium term."
However, if international funders step up, "we will see the possibility of an Afghanistan finally experiencing the fruits of security."
Fear of collapsing
Griffiths stated that the security situation for humanitarian organizations in Afghanistan is probably better than it has been in many years, noting that the workforce in Kabul's ministries has mostly stayed unchanged since the Taliban took over.
He said the UN Security Council's December decision to allow humanitarian aid to reach impoverished Afghans without breaking international sanctions aimed at isolating the Taliban had significantly improved the operational climate for donors and humanitarians on the ground.
The funds will be distributed to 160 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and United Nations agencies that provide humanitarian assistance. Some of the funds will be utilized to compensate frontline workers, including healthcare personnel – but not through the Taliban administration.
Around eight million students may miss out on education since instructors have not been paid in most cases since August, Griffiths added.
UN refugee director Filippo Grandi stated that the aid package's objective was to stabilize the situation within Afghanistan, including for internally displaced persons, to avert a further influx of migrants across the country's borders.
"Managing that movement of people will be challenging, both within the region and beyond, because it will not be contained within the region," he said.
"If those efforts fail, we will have to ask for $10 billion, not $5 billion, next year."