News that winter will worsen living conditions in Afghanistan. Last Minute WORLD, CURRENT headlines and events
A senior Red Cross official warned that conditions in Afghanistan, which is entering its second winter under Taliban rule, will worsen.
The Taliban’s rise to power in August 2021 hit the economy, and cuts in foreign aid almost overnight pushed millions of people to the brink of poverty and starvation.
Responding to questions from the Associated Press news agency, Red Cross Operations Director Martin Shuep said the situation in Afghanistan is very serious and it will be very difficult for people to survive.
Sanctions against the Taliban rulers halted bank transfers, and the freezing of Afghanistan’s foreign exchange reserves limited global institutions and access to foreign money that supported the country’s poor economy before US and NATO forces left the country.
Schuepp said that with the onset of winter, the acute humanitarian needs faced by half the country will increase.
The representative of the Red Cross said that prices in the country are rising for various reasons, but the sanctions had a big impact on this.
Noting that sanctions are an obstacle to the timely receipt of assistance and necessary materials for entry into the country, the representative of the Red Cross stressed the importance of applying the principle of humanitarian exception to all sanctions. He noted that in this way organizations such as the Red Cross could continue their work.
“Red Cross pays salaries to doctors in Afghanistan”
The Red Cross is already paying the salaries of 10,500 healthcare workers to keep the healthcare sector afloat, Schupp said.
“We understand that the payment of salaries to medical personnel is not our main task. As a humanitarian organization, we are under no obligation to do so. We have done this on an exceptional basis so that medical services can continue,” Schuapp said.
Schuepp, who made his first visit to Afghanistan as the Red Cross’s operations director since the Taliban took over administration, said the agency also serves the country’s prisons. The Red Cross official was unable to answer how many people are in Afghan prisons.
“We have increased our aid to prisons and prisoners. We’re trying to get food delivered to prisons across the country. Today, 80 percent of prisoners receive this assistance,” Schuepp said.
He said the role of the Red Cross was a “temporary measure” that became necessary after the collapse of the US-backed Afghan government when Washington began a final withdrawal of its troops last August.
Shupp noted that the Red Cross is trying to provide basic services in prisons run by the Taliban.
No country in the world recognizes the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan”, in the words of the Taliban. This situation isolates the Taliban internationally. After adopting Islamic rule, the group ruled Afghanistan in the 1990s and was overthrown in 2001 by the US invasion.
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