Just a couple of months ago, Afghanistan; ‘A crisis in making’, was the headline of every International news outlet but now it is rarely being discussed in the shows, that’s how the interests of global powers dictate the characteristics of the news for major media outlets. But would this change the fact that Afghanistan is undergoing a major humanitarian crisis, with millions finding it difficult to meet the basic necessities like food, water and shelters?
For the last couple of decades, Afghanistan remained a battleground for the Great powers. Now when the country needs help no one is interested to invest in this battle for humanity. According to the UNDP report by the mid of 2022, the poverty rate in Afghanistan will cross 97%. Even today it is reaching almost 75% with an exponential increase on daily basis. Similarly, unemployment is also on the rise. Despite constant calls by Pakistan and many activists, the global powers seem to downgrade the situation with many considering the problems being created by the current setup of Afghanistan.
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Afghanistan in the depths of humanitarian catastrophic
Considering this rapid collapse of the overall economic structure and failure to deal with the humanitarian crisis the question arises as the economy is as flawed as the Afghan Army and National Defense forces. The general perception when it comes to the economy is that one should view the GDP to analyze the economic activity as it represents where a country stands. But it’s a misconception, GDP is never the true representation of a country’s economy. Nevertheless, let’s analyze different aspects of the Afghan economy to figure out what went wrong and who is responsible for the current state of affairs.
According to World Bank stats, in 2012 Afghanistan’s GDP growth was around 12%. Post-12 Afghanistan GDP growth is on the decline with GDP dramatically falling from 12% to 5.6% in the following year. Just the year before the collapse of Kabul regime the GDP was -1.9 in 2020. One can argue the global resurgence due to Coronavirus but this does not change the fact that it’s on the decline from 2012 onwards. For the very reason for other aspects, I will share the statistics of Pre-Covid. For the year 2019, Afghanistan’s total exports were around $870 million while in the same year imports crossed $8,5687 million, with an overall negative trade balance.
Similarly, in terms of unemployment, food security and education the situation was also not very encouraging. Unemployment was highest ever in decades, 11.73% in 2020. According to the United Nations Food and agriculture organization (FAO) and World Food program report by October of 2021, nearly 19 million out of 38 million have experienced a high level of food acute insecurity. This unfolded with a 30% increase, as in the very period in 2020 around 14.5 million were undergoing the very crisis. Moreover, if one objectively analyzes the situation in Afghanistan and how things unfolded in the last decades, the figures and statistics would support the argument that the previous Kabul regime performance was just a bubble that revolved around a sense of victory which never existed in reality.
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Will Afghanistan ever see the days of prosperity?
The things were not the same as before the US invasion but we’re not even too good from where Afghanistan was before the US invasion, despite trillions of dollars being spent on war without a strategy. For this very reason in the last two decades, little progress was made in improving the structural flaws be it in the Army or be it in economy or education. Warlords were empowered with no real emphasis on introducing real democratic values. The women empowerment to education was all limited to Kabul, with the rest of the country suffering under the shadows of drugs, corruption and human rights violations.
The narrative that all of this crisis unfolded just because of what happened on 15 August, can be part of rhetoric but facts negate this idea. But the idea behind this thought is not to disapprove the critique of the current setup but is to figure out who is responsible for the crisis because all those who are responsible for the crisis should play part in resolving and overcoming this serious building crisis which is getting worse day by day.
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Regardless of whatever happened in the past, the real issue should be what’s the way forward? US, NATO countries, Taliban, Afghanistan’s ruling elite all being the party to war bear reasonability for what’s happening in Afghanistan today, that’s why engagement with the Afghan nation is not a choice but compulsion otherwise this humanitarian crisis will give rise to a serious security crisis both at a regional and global level.
Talha Ahmad is a Freelance Journalist and can be reached on Twitter at @talhaahmad967. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.