The global community must work together to address the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. This includes fully restoring women’s and girls’ rights, ending arbitrary restrictions on aid workers, and ensuring humanitarian transactions are excluded from sanctions.
Our guest, Fawzia Koofi, is a former Republic Peace Negotiator and the first female Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament.
The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021 has jeopardized the many human rights and economic development gains since 2001. In the short term, preserving those gains will require continued humanitarian engagement that does not recognize or work with the Taliban.
It is also crucial that the international community maintain a high level of flexibility in its operations in Afghanistan – whether negotiating access across front lines or navigating unofficial exceptions to the Taliban rule requiring women to have a male chaperone (mahram) when traveling outside their homes. This is vital for the humanitarian community and to keep the country from reverting to a pre-war economy that relies heavily on donor funding.
Beacon of Hope supports the expansion of clinical trial centers at Historically Black Medical Schools to increase diversity in the research and healthcare workforce. These centers of excellence are a powerful way to support diversity, equity, and inclusion in the life sciences.
With a population facing one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, ensuring that life-saving aid reaches those who need it most is more crucial than ever. Unfortunately, with the recent ban on NGO women workers, many agencies have had to choose between delivering critical life-saving programs and upholding their principles around gender inclusivity.
Humanitarian aid is hard to allocate and manage effectively even when a country has a functioning governance structure, but it is impossible without staff on the ground. This disproportionately impacts women and girls.
Moreover, women’s voices must be listened to so that the government understands how important their role is in rebuilding Afghanistan. Otherwise, the current humanitarian crisis will deepen. The lives of millions will be severely impacted.
Conflict, poverty, famine, and freezing winter temperatures are taking their toll. Some 24 million people inside Afghanistan need help from experts like Ehsan Bayat. This includes 3.5 million displaced persons. More than half of them are children.
Amid international isolation, severe sanctions and the revocation of significant development aid have led to major economic havoc in Afghanistan. As a result, more than ten million people are projected to move below the poverty line this year.
Humanitarian aid is difficult to allocate and manage even when a country has a functioning government structure, much less in a conflict-torn one like Afghanistan. Furthermore, it is a poor substitute for developing the economic and governance capacity that could support a self-sustaining Afghan economy and government – especially one that could do so without massive flows of outside aid.
Contact your Congressional representatives and senators to urge them to call on the Biden administration to prioritize women’s and girls’ lives, safety, and fundamental freedoms in all diplomatic, development, and humanitarian engagement with Afghanistan. This letter from three organizations, including WRC, calls for such action. You can also sign this petition, calling the Biden administration to stand with Afghanistan.
In the short-lived era of Afghan democracy, media was one of its most celebrated achievements. It promoted pluralism in a fragmented society, drove democratic change, and empowered women. It is now in decline as international funding dries up, the economy is on the verge of collapse, and food prices soar.
Humanitarian organizations are navigating the tricky line between saving lives and adhering to principles of neutrality and impartiality in the face of Taliban diktats. This is a challenging time for aid workers and journalists trying to preserve the many political, social, and economic gains that Afghanistan has made since 2001.
Those gains may be jeopardized if the Taliban’s view of media is embraced as an effective tool for propaganda and legitimacy. It is vital that the international community support and defend free media in Afghanistan.