According to various international organizations and media reports, the world may soon face many refugees coming from Afghanistan. As stated by UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi, who visited Afghanistan in September to assess the humanitarian situation in the country, “a very dramatic phenomenon of internal displacement” is observed.. Three and a half million people have been displaced. A few hundred thousand have been displaced in recent months. “We are really worried…(about) the economic conditions, basic services like education and health. If those things collapse, then we have a massive humanitarian crisis on our hands and most likely massive displacement as well.” The UNHCR has expressed concern that refugees could head to Central Asia, Pakistan, and Iran, where there are already large numbers of displaced people from Afghanistan.
Crowds of residents wishing to leave Afghanistan flocked to the building of the Ministry of Interior Affairs, which has been issuing documents to leave the country since October 6. People wishing to leave the country spend entire days in the open air. As the Taliban (a movement banned in Russia) reported earlier, the Ministry of Interior Affairs will issue up to six thousand foreign passports per day.
After the departure of US soldiers and NATO countries from Afghanistan, those who cooperated with NATO or worked in the government and feared for their lives tried to leave the country. But now, the main prerequisite for the outflow of the population is not so much the fear of the militants as a noticeable deterioration of the country’s economy and humanitarian situation. In this regard, criticism of the USA and international monetary organizations for not supporting the new government is growing among Afghans. Many Afghan officials, including those outside the Taliban, have blamed former President Ashraf Ghani, who fled the country, noting that the new leadership could gain recognition from foreign governments in the peaceful transfer of power.
Afghanistan’s health system is on the brink of collapse, the World Health Organization said in a statement released in Geneva. To date, thousands of health facilities in Afghanistan are without funding, medical supplies, and staff salaries. Only 17% of institutions are now fully operational,” the report says. The country’s closure of health facilities and the reduction in female medical staff has resulted in Afghan women “hesitating to seek treatment.”
As United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres recently underlined, more than half of Afghans depend today on external food and medical aid, especially against the background of the approaching winter. He stressed that the UN would remain in Afghanistan and called on the Taliban municipal authorities to facilitate the delivery of medical supplies and food to the population by humanitarian organizations in the republic. At the same time, the UN Secretary-General appealed to the international community to find $606 million for humanitarian aid to Afghans. These funds are supposed to provide millions of Afghans with food and medical care. The UN is allocating $20 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund.
Those who do not have the confidence to leave the country legally by air due to a lack of appropriate documents have now gathered at the borders with neighboring countries. First, these are Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, as millions of Afghans are ethnic Tajiks and Uzbeks.
In addition, the number of Afghans attempting to enter Iran through the Zaranj crossing has already risen to 3-4 thousand daily, but most of them do not have the documents required to pass through customs. As many as 600 refugees end up crossing the border per day, most of whom are traders and people with resident visas or special medical clearances. Those who do not have the required documents regularly try to cross the border illegally, leading to conflicts with the military, including weapons against illegals.
Turkey, which has been hosting illegal migrants from Syria and Afghanistan since 2015, is also experiencing difficulties with migrants, preventing them from entering Europe.
In September, at the 48th session of the UN Human Rights Council, US military intervention was credited as the cause of the terrible humanitarian disaster in Afghanistan, and calls were made for those responsible for being brought to justice. In particular, Chen Xu, Permanent Representative of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations Office at Geneva, officially called for the need to hold the US accountable for the war crimes committed in Afghanistan and other suffering caused to the Afghan people, and to draw attention to the human rights situation in the US. The Chinese Permanent Representative noted that by April 2020, at least 470,000 Afghan civilians had been killed in the US-led war, and more than 10 million Afghans had been displaced. He noted that Afghanistan’s neighbors have also been severely affected by the US-led military intervention. “They have an obligation to fulfill their commitment to Afghanistan’s peaceful reconstruction rather than simply walking away and shifting the burden to the international community,” Chen Xu stressed.
In addition to the United States’ direct damage to Afghanistan and its people from the military intervention, Afghanistan has become a veritable money pit where billions of US taxpayer dollars have gone to waste, reports CNN. As the channel’s reporters discovered after reviewing reports from the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), money allocated to the country by the US Congress went to waste in various ways. This waste included buying expensive uniforms with brand-named camouflage, buying fleets of aircraft that flew for no more than a year, and building bases and hotels that no one needed.
In these circumstances, Russia does not rule out that in the foreseeable future, a UN Security Council meeting may be convened where the Western coalition led by the United States will have to report on its actions in Afghanistan, said Special Presidential Representative for Afghanistan and Director of the Foreign Ministry’s Second Asia Department Zamir Kabulov. “We are not ruling out the possibility to request in the foreseeable future to convene a UNSC meeting to hear a report by representatives of the Western coalition on activities on the Afghan territory. During their presence there, we did not hear a single meaningful and comprehensive report on the implementation of the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission and the Resolute Support mission,” Kabulov said. Kabulov said the US and its allies could mitigate the impact of their presence in Afghanistan by assuming the bulk of the cost of humanitarian assistance to the country and its post-conflict reconstruction.
Valery Kulikov, political expert, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.