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Afghanistan crisis

Editorial CAITLYN SAMPLEY AGGIE


The situation in Afghanistan is terrible to say the least. Multiple bombing attacks near Kabul airport on Thursday have killed over a 100 people including 13 US troopers. The country is once again on the cusp of a humanitarian crisis. Videos showed bodies strewn around a canal on the edge of the airport. Most of the people who were killed were hoping to leave the country and be evacuated by the US forces. According to international news agencies, ISIS, an enemy of the Islamist Taliban as well as the West, said one of its suicide bombers targeted “translators and collaborators with the American army”. Reuters reported that it was not clear if suicide bombers detonated both blasts or if one was a planted bomb. Also, it was not clear if ISIS gunmen were involved in the attack or if the firing that followed the blasts was Taliban guards firing into the air to control crowds. The survivors recollect the attack saying they “saw doomsday”. In the past 12 days, Western countries have evacuated nearly 100,000 people. But they acknowledge that thousands will be left behind when the last U.S. troops leave at the end of the month. The American casualties in Thursday’s attack were believed to be the most U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan in a single incident since 30 personnel died when a helicopter was shot down in 2011. The Afghanistan crisis must be viewed as the biggest humanitarian crisis in recent history. As power dynamics change by the hour across Afghanistan, International aid agency World Vision has warned that countless more vulnerable children will pay the ultimate price as they are caught in the maelstrom. At terrifying speed, territories and control are changing, schools are closed, food is scarce and forced displacement figures are soaring. Children and families are in hiding or fleeing and their fundamental rights are being denied. Almost half the population – 18.4 million people (8.2 million children) – have needed humanitarian and protection assistance in 2021 and this is growing. An acute food insecurity crisis is faced by more than 30% of the Afghani population (12.2 million). Accelerated forced displacement is projected to result in 500,000 people fleeing across various provinces by the end of the year. The pandemic continues to worsen, and preventative measures are lacking. In a country with a population of close to 40 million, so far only 139,051 COVID-19 cases and 6,098 deaths have been reported since February 2020. With Afghanistan at a dangerous turning point, a united Security Council must seize the current opportunity to quickly reinvigorate peace talks and prevent the crisis from spilling across national borders.