UN agency: Afghanistan needs $4.62 billion in aid for 2023

By Rahim Faiez

ISLAMABAD — Afghanistan needs $4.62 billion in humanitarian aid from the international community this year for nearly 24 million people in need, the U.N.’s humanitarian affairs agency said.

Afghanistan is facing its third consecutive year of drought, its second year of severe economic hardship and the continued consequences of decades of war and natural disasters, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said Tuesday on Twitter.

“With Afghanistan, humanitarian aid remains the last lifeline for much of the population,” the agency said.

Mohammad Shukran, 32, a Kabul resident and government employee, said life in Afghanistan is difficult: “Everyone is just trying to survive,” he said.

The U.N. food agency said earlier this month it urgently needs $800 million for the next six months to help Afghanistan, which is at the highest risk of famine in a quarter of a century.

Aid agencies have been providing food, education and health care support to Afghans in the wake of the Taliban takeover of August 2021 and the economic collapse that followed it. But distribution has been severely impacted by a Taliban edict last December banning women from working at national and international nongovernmental groups.

The U.N. was not part of this ban but earlier this month it said the Taliban-led government has stopped Afghan women from working at its agencies in the country. Authorities have yet to comment on the restriction.

Unemployment has increased like never before, said Shah Mir, 45, a father of four children. He works at a non-governmental organization in the health sector in eastern Nangarhar province.

“We don’t know when our office will be closed by the Taliban and we will also lose our jobs,” he said.

Despite initial promises of a more moderate rule than during their previous stint in power in the 1990s, the Taliban have imposed harsh measures since taking over as U.S. and NATO forces pulled out of Afghanistan after two decades of war.

A spokesman for the Afghan Economy Ministry, Abdul Rahman Habib, said the government’s future plans include developing the agricultural and industrial sectors and mine extraction.

“Supporting domestic business and products, more focus on exports, attracting foreign investors, creating special economic zones in the country are important,” he said.

Habib said international banking restrictions and climate change that has created years of drought are the main reasons for the country’s poor economy and high rate of poverty.

UN agency: Afghanistan needs $4.62 billion in aid for 2023