Neil Turner, the Norwegian Refugee Council’s country director in Afghanistan, in a statement on the two-year mark of the Taliban takeover said that two years under Taliban rule in Afghanistan, a human tragedy is unfolding.
He said the situation is driven by a devastating mix of food insecurity and climate change, funding cuts, operational restrictions, and the absence of effective diplomatic engagement.
“More than halfway through the year the humanitarian response plan targeting more than 21 million people is less than 25 percent funded,” he said.
According to the World Food Programme (WFP), 15.3 million people face acute food insecurity, and 2.8 million people face emergency levels of food insecurity. Acute malnutrition is above emergency thresholds in 25 out of 34 provinces in Afghanistan.
Only 24.8% of the $3.23 billion requested to meet humanitarian needs in 2023 have been disbursed so far, according to OCHA.
A report commissioned by NRC, published in April 2023, found that over-compliance and misconceptions about the scope of international sanctions have led to severe obstacles for the Afghan business community, including for businesses that import and export food and other essential goods.
“The Afghan people need long-term sustainable solutions to end the humanitarian crisis,” the NRC country director said. “This must include efforts to promote greater economic stability including a functioning banking sector and connection to the international financial system.”
He said that without progress on the economy, including the resumption of long-term development assistance, sustainable solutions will never be achieved.
He said NRC urges Taliban to uphold their obligations as duty bearers, towards all members of the population, including enabling unhindered and principled humanitarian access and education for women and girls.
He added that NRC calls on the international community to sustain humanitarian funding to stabilize the crisis and to step-up diplomatic engagement to find constructive ways forward for Afghanistan as people’s lives and futures depend on it.