Afghanistan on Brink of ‘Humanitarian Catastrophe,’ UN Envoy Says

Afghanistan is on the brink of “humanitarian catastrophe,” the United Nations envoy pointed on Wednesday, referring to food scarcity and the crumbling economy, and warned that due to current conditions, extremism is on the rise.

Addressing the UNSC, the special representative for Afghanistan Deborah Lyons told the Security Council that, as the winter is coming, the regional and global community must continue helping Afghanistan where pressing issues could lead to a terrible loss of life.

The UN’s World Food Program and Food Agriculture Organization’s report published last month showed that 47% of the Afghans have faced high levels of acute food insecurity in the last two months, and it is expected for the circumstances to worsen in the coming months.

According to the estimates, around 55% of the total population in Afghanistan will be experiencing high levels of acute food insecurity in the next five months. The main forces driving the food crisis were the drought and its impacts, the increasing food prices due to the severe economic crisis, and the collapse of public services.

She noted that now is not the time to turn away from the Afghan people as they face this very difficult winter with huge problems of not just food scarcity but a crumbling economy due to the Taliban takeover and foreign sanctions, which have paralyzed the local banking system.

Lyons urged the UNSC for finding ways to prevent the terrible loss of life that could happen and an imminent humanitarian catastrophe

Lyons also warned about the major surge of the Islamic State through the war-torn country, claiming the jihadist group has increased attacks more than five-fold in the past year and is tearing a path across Afghanistan, establishing itself in almost all provinces.

So far in 2021, the increasingly active Afghanistan-based ‘Khorasan’ faction of IS has carried out 334 attacks, up from just 60 last year, Lyons said just hours after one person was killed and another six were wounded in IS bombing in a Shiite Muslim neighborhood of Kabul.

Yet, she noted that the overall security situation in the country has improved since the US troops withdrawal despite the rise in IS attacks in recent months

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