UN agencies have asked donors for $4.4 billion in humanitarian aid for Afghanistan in the year 2022, terming the funds as a “special stop gap” for the future of the country in the wake of the turmoil period marked by the Taliban’s seizure of power and a hasty US exit.
The UN on Tuesday said that the current humanitarian assistance appeal is almost the quarter of the Afghanistan’s GDP, and it is the largest-ever help in cash sought for a single country. Further, this amount is triple the figure Afghanistan received in 2021 when the US-backed government collapsed.
“This is a stop gap, an absolutely essential stop gap measure that we are putting in front of the international community today,” UN aid chief Martin Griffiths told reporters in Geneva.
“Without this being funded there won’t be a future, we need this to be done otherwise there will be outflow, there will be suffering.”
The abrupt withdrawal of foreign aid last year following the Taliban victory in August left Afghanistan’s fragile economy on the brink of collapse, with food prices rising rapidly and causing widespread hunger.
Western sanctions aimed at the Taliban also prevented the passage of basic supplies of food and medicine, although this has since eased after exemptions were passed by the UN Security Council and Washington in December.
Griffiths, who has been meeting with Taliban officials, said the humanitarian plan had been “carefully calibrated” so that aid will go directly to people in need and not to authorities.
Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said that improved security presented an opportunity to entice millions of people displaced by the long conflict back home, adding that since the Taliban seized power, 170,000 had returned already.
“The conflict between the Taliban and the previous government is over and that has opened up some space of security which I think we need to take advantage of,” Grandi said.
“But to do that we need those resources that are part of this appeal.”