Humanitarian situation in Afghanistan ‘fragile,’ UN official says

UNITED NATIONS — The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan remains “fragile,” with 23 million people in need of assistance this year, according to Edem Wosornu, the head of operations of the UN humanitarian affairs office (OCHA).

Speaking at a recent press conference at the United Nations, Wosornu highlighted the severity of the crisis.

“The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan is fragile; 23 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance this year. This is five times the number in 2019,” she said.

Wosornu emphasized the disproportionate impact on women and girls, noting that over 1.4 million girls are directly affected by the ban on female schooling beyond grade six.

“The majority of people in need are women and girls, children in Afghanistan. This is a huge concern, to say the least,” she added.

The senior humanitarian official also addressed the challenges faced by Afghan female aid workers. “Restrictions on Afghan female workers have added a layer of complexity to the humanitarian operation,” Wosornu said. “While delivering humanitarian assistance, our courageous Afghan female colleagues face many challenges and assume personal risks every day to and from work.”

Since the Taliban seized power in August 2021, they have enforced stringent policies, including bans on education and employment for women and increasing restrictions on women’s presence in public spaces. These policies have remained unchanged, further exacerbating the humanitarian crisis.