The United States Special Representative for Afghanistan on Monday began his first visit to Europe and Asia to discuss developments in the South Asian nation, where nearly 23 million people, including children, are at risk of starvation.
Ambassador Thomas West’s first stop will be Brussels where his discussions with allies and partners will focus on the way forward on Afghanistan.
“I look forward to advancing America’s vital interests and supporting the Afghan people,” West said in a pre-trip tweet. “The international community must work together to be effective,” the US envoy stressed.
The United Nations has warned that more than half of Afghanistan’s estimated 40 million population is likely to starve this winter unless more funding comes from donors. The World Food Program said in a statement on Monday that fuel costs are rising, food prices are rising, fertilizers are more expensive, and all this adds to the unfolding Afghan crisis.
The Islamist Taliban’s return to power in Afghanistan last August following the withdrawal of US-led foreign troops has plunged the country into economic woes and raised Afghan humanitarian needs to unprecedented levels, stoked by years of war and prolongation. stems from extensive drought.
The international community has refused diplomatic recognition to the Taliban government over human rights concerns under the rule of the predominantly Islamic movement.
The absence of legitimacy led to Kabul suspending several billions of dollars in annual foreign aid and blocking the Taliban’s access to nearly $10 billion in Afghan assets, mostly held in the US Federal Reserve. The sanctions have made it extremely difficult for the Taliban to pay salaries or import essential goods.
dilemma over taliban
Analysts say Washington and other Western governments have some good options in Afghanistan: they can either try to work with the Taliban, and actually collude with human rights violations, or remotely worsen Can look at the crisis and reverse 20 years of development work.
US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan noted in a CNN interview aired on Sunday that Washington remains the biggest humanitarian donor to Afghanistan and has provided nearly half a billion dollars in funding this year alone.
The adviser defended reliance on aid organisations, arguing that the Biden administration was “not in a position to be able to provide funding directly” through the Taliban leadership in Afghanistan.
Sullivan said, “We think this is the best way to help the people of Afghanistan without really creating a situation in which some of those funds can be used for purposes that are important to the national security of the United States.” interests are problematic.”
“Until we see a sufficiently better approach to everything from inclusive government to other elements that we are discussing regularly with them (the Taliban), our focus will only be on making money available in the hundreds of millions of dollars. This year alone and through international organizations and NGOs will continue to mobilize the rest of the international community,” he said.
On Sunday, the Taliban appointed 43 provincial governors and police chiefs to consolidate their rule.
The Islamist group formed an interim government in Kabul in September, but the global community is pressing the Taliban to establish a regime that represents all Afghans, including women and minorities.
The Taliban have rejected criticism of their government and have repeatedly assured the global community that they will protect the human rights of all Afghans, including women and minorities. The Islamic group has sought diplomatic recognition and unfreezing of Afghan assets abroad to prevent an economic slowdown and be able to provide immediate aid to those in need.