- The very mention of Afghanistan rushes in foreboding memories of misery, hardships, difficulties, unending challenges, and a sense of remorse for the way people in the battle-scarred country are subjected relentlessly. There simply seems to be no respite whatsoever from the unmitigated griefs stalking the people from different directions. If the ultra-fundamentalists like the Taliban made life unlivable for the citizens through their extremely despicable medieval practices, the mother nature too seems to be aiding in further piling on the gloom. As the country struggles to find meaningful ways and means to exist/sustain in a human manner, the people must be mentally and physically shattered to learn about the earthquake that shook the nation recently.
PC: Kiara Alfonseca
- We know how the innocent people of Afghanistan were left in the lurch by the US-led peacekeeping forces last year in an ill-conceived and hasty move to hand over the reins to the Taliban. The entire global community is witness to what transpired aftermath of the foreign forces leaving the shores. The heart-wrenching scenes of thousands of people desperately trying to fly out of the country would have left anyone feeling gutted. Already in the midst of a grave humanitarian crisis since the Taliban’s takeover last year, last Wednesday’s earthquake, which killed 1,000-plus people in initial estimates, has put Afghanistan on the brink of an even bigger disaster. As expected, rescue efforts are reported to be inadequate, and food and medicines are in short supply in the area.
- Mind you, Afghanistan needs a massive aid effort, and countries that can afford to help, India included, must act fast before the crisis goes out of control. Left with no option, the Taliban has asked for help which is a first step toward extending relief to the affected citizens. However, aid-givers must be aware that the challenge in extending relief is huge. Moreover, Afghanistan’s disaster management system was poorly resourced even before the Taliban came back. There are few aircraft and helicopters available to rescuers, and some reports suggest even these qualified pilots are not easy to find. The pre-Taliban, US-backed Kabul government is, of course, responsible for this, because billions in financial help were lost to corruption.
PC: Jonah Shepp
- Disgustingly, nearly $19 billion was eaten up by fraud, wastage, and abuse according to the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. This, in a country where over 7,000 people have been killed in quakes over the last decade. Worse still, mass exits of foreign staff of humanitarian organizations owing to genuine security concerns have led to a near-collapse of the Afghan healthcare system even before the quake. Also, the Taliban doesn’t seem to be in full control of the security situation either. The prevailing security scenario is alarming. Therefore, all countries including India should extend generous help in the form of aid, alongside relief teams, to work through the United Nations. This must be accomplished expeditiously.