In a surprise move, Taliban allow NGOs to continue aid work to save millions of Afghans from starvation
NGOs and charities expressed surprise at the Taliban’s willingness to cooperate with them so far, and have committed to allowing girls to return to their classrooms this month, according to the reports.
Hunger is the biggest issue facing Afghans. More than half the country currently faces food insecurity as millions are at risk of starvation.
Afghans will likely die without humanitarian assistance. Aid groups say they must engage with the Taliban if they are to save those facing starvation, even if the Taliban uses them to proclaim its status as a legitimate government.
"People are dying by suicide across Afghanistan because of starvation, as the US has frozen the Afghan Central Bank’s assets and the IMF suspended access to funds after the Taliban takeover." More than half the population is suffering from hunger. https://t.co/V4unXmwdLK— Vincent Bevins (@Vinncent) March 9, 2022
There is "serious, serious food insecurity across the country", International Rescue Committee's Bob Kitchen told Axios.
At the same time, the "genuinely weird, but hopeful meetings with the Taliban government, who are really playing the long game, trying to empower NGOs" gives some hope that international organisations could be allowed to make a difference.
While the insurgent group is still intent on enforcing its strict interpretation of Islam, Kitchen said that they are considering the needs of the community to stay in power. This could allow Afghans some of the help they desperately need to prevent at least some of the worst-case scenarios.
The Taliban is known for stamping out dissent, enforcing harsh punishments and notorious for their oppression of women. International funding and aid has all but dried up as most countries are unwilling to work with the Taliban.
Millions of Afghans are on the brink of starvation, forcing families to make terrible choices - whether they should invest in educating their girls instead of marrying them off to have one less mouth to feed.
Some families only eat once every three days, according to some reports.
The UN called for $5 billion in humanitarian funds to help Afghans survive the crisis in January, which is the largest ever such appeal.