Afghanistan

ICRC beefs up support for Afghans as conditions worsen after a year of Taliban rule

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The International Committee of the Red Cross has doubled its operational budget this year to meet the “growing needs” of people in Afghanistan who continue to suffer one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises in decades, the ICRC chief said on Monday.

Monday marks one year since the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan, but celebrations were muted as Afghans continue to struggle with worsening living conditions, including severe drought and malnutrition.

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“Afghan families have borne the worst of humanitarian crises for decades, but today’s misery is touching even more people than in past years,” ICRC Director-General Robert Mardini said in a statement.

“It is unacceptable to see Afghans struggle every day to put food on the table or access basics like water, health care and electricity.”

“In cities, people sell their possessions to raise cash or wait outside the bread shop in hopes of a gesture of generosity. In rural areas, drought is devastating crops and livelihoods.”

Mardini called on countries and development agencies to return to Afghanistan and to support the people who “continue to bear the brunt of economic turmoil, drought and the fallout of decades of conflict.”

A displaced Afghan woman receives cash aid from a WSTA employee at a cash aid distribution center for displaced people in Kabul, Afghanistan, July 28, 2022. (File photo: Reuters)
A displaced Afghan woman receives cash aid from a WSTA employee at a cash aid distribution center for displaced people in Kabul, Afghanistan, July 28, 2022. (File photo: Reuters)

“The International Committee of the Red Cross has doubled its operational budget this year to meet growing needs. We support 33 hospitals across the country, make donations of fuel and oil to keep electricity and water going, and we support vulnerable households and farmers with cash assistance and grants. But it’s not enough,” Mardini added.

Since the extremist group’s takeover last August, the country has seen dramatic reforms based on the Taliban’s harsh interpretation of the Sharia law, severely impacting women and girls across the country who are still fighting for their right to work and study.

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