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Key Quotes:

“Nearly four months since the Taliban seized power, Afghanistan is on the brink of a mass starvation that aid groups say threatens to kill a million children this winter — a toll that would dwarf the total number of Afghan civilians estimated to have been killed as a direct result of the war over the past 20 years.

While Afghanistan has suffered from malnutrition for decades, the country’s hunger crisis has drastically worsened in recent months. This winter, an estimated 22.8 million people — more than half the population — are expected to face potentially life-threatening levels of food insecurity, according to an analysis by the United Nations World Food Program and Food and Agriculture Organization. Of those, 8.7 million people are nearing famine — the worst stage of a food crisis.”

“Practically overnight, billions of dollars in foreign aid that propped up the previous Western-backed government vanished and U.S. sanctions on the Taliban isolated the country from the global financial system, paralyzing Afghan banks and impeding relief work by humanitarian organizations.”

“American officials showed some flexibility around loosening the economic chokehold on Afghanistan last week, when the World Bank’s board — which includes the United States — moved to free up $280 million in frozen donor funding for the World Food Program and UNICEF. Still, the sum is just a portion of the $1.5 billion frozen by the World Bank amid pressure from the United States Treasury after the Taliban took control.”


Key Quote:

“Millions of Afghans could run out of food before the arrival of winter and one million children are at risk of starvation and death if their immediate needs are not met, top United Nations officials warned on Monday, putting the country’s plight into stark relief.

Secretary General António Guterres, speaking at a high-level U.N. conference in Geneva convened to address the crisis, said that since the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan last month, the nation’s poverty rate has soared and basic public services have neared collapse and, in the past year, hundreds of thousands of people have been made homeless after being forced to flee fighting.

“After decades of war, suffering and insecurity, they face perhaps their most perilous hour,” Mr. Guterres said, adding that one in three Afghans do not know where they will get their next meal.

The deepening humanitarian crisis tops a dizzying array of challenges confronting the new Taliban regime as it navigates governing a country propped up for decades by aid from international donors.”


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That sounds really devastating. Not having looked into it further yet, do you have any hunch how likely this will get alleviated by the World Bank given the possible funding paths? It already has gathered media and political attention and the governmental situation in the country seem to make it very intractable for international, non-state actors. And disaster-relief is usually more complicated anyways, given logistic challenges etc.

one in three Afghans do not know where they will get their next meal

This is a really high number. Afghanistan has a total population of around 40 million; if 13 million were already unclear if they can eat literally today, I would expect much higher than one million kids to be at risk of starvation over the next few months. Also, Afghanistan is a largely tribal/rural country that is currently controlled by a terrorist group, so I'm somewhat skeptical of our ability to accurately perform surveys in such an environment. 

Is it possible that this really means 'do not know, even if they're confident it will come from somewhere'? After all, if I am choosing between restaurants, technically I do not know where I'll get my next meal, but this is not morally significant. 

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