The future appears uncertain for Afghanistan following its takeover by the Taliban as US-led forces withdrew from the country after 20 years of occupation. As other nations continue to evacuate their citizens, the Central Asian country has been struck by political and humanitarian crises.
Foreign Aid Remains Crucial for Future of Afghanistan
© REUTERS / MOHAMMAD ISMAILAhmad Massoud, son of the slain hero of the anti-Soviet resistance Ahmad Shah Massoud, speaks to his supporters in Bazarak, Panjshir province Afghanistan September 5, 2019. Picture taken September 5, 2019.
© REUTERS / MOHAMMAD ISMAIL
Amir Muttaqi, Afghanistan’s acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, has urged the international community to recognize the new government and recommence aid.
The international community has not yet recognized the Taliban government, and the US Federal Reserve, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have cut off Afghanistan’s access to funds. Without recognition from world governments, foreign investment will likely be minimal leaving the economic situation very few avenues to improve.
The situation is a dangerous balancing act between world governments and the Taliban. Governments believe that aid can be used as a way to gain concessions from the Taliban, but are wary of recognizing the government.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres put it frankly, "It is impossible to provide humanitarian assistance inside Afghanistan without engaging with the de facto authorities.”
According to the World Bank, aid makes up 40% of Afghanistan’s gross domestic product. Without aid, Afghanistan’s economy will crater, but the only way to get aid to the country is to engage with the Taliban.
There is the possibility that the Taliban understand this dynamic, and that the threat of their economy worsening the humanitarian crisis is their best avenue to continue to receive aid. The situation remains in flux and how it all shakes out could shape the future of Afghanistan.
*The Taliban is an organisation banned in Russia and other countries