Even if the Taliban took 9 billion
A humanitarian catastrophe looms in Afghanistan. Enormous sums of aid are required to prevent hundreds of thousands from starving to death in the harsh Afghan winter.
The EU has announced humanitarian aid worth 1 billion euros. This will target the Afghan people and neighboring countries who have helped with the relief efforts.
But the cash announced when the Afghan Taliban rulers held their first face-to-face talks with a US-EU delegation in Qatar is a patch on what appeared to be a gaping hole in the Afghan economy.
The figures on the situation in Afghanistan are sobering. More than 18 million people depend on humanitarian aid to survive; around 664,000 people have been displaced by recent violence since January, bringing the total number of internally displaced persons to over 3.5 million; According to the World Food Program, every third Afghan is acute hunger; more than 93 percent of households had too little to eat in the past week.
According to the United Nations, the Afghan economy is on the verge of collapse. Before the Taliban came to power, Afghanistan relied on international aid, which accounted for 75 percent of government spending.
Crucially, the US Treasury has blocked $ 9 billion in Afghan funds in American banks. And funding from international organizations has been suspended.
The 1 billion euros from the EU can now be paid because it is aid money. But the US is freezing the $ 9 billion in assets because releasing the funds would mean recognizing the Taliban regime.
The EU is also careful not to legitimize the Taliban government. The West demands commitment and evidence for the protection of human rights in Afghanistan. The Taliban have announced that they will not be forced by the West to moderate their policies.
However, there are more and more calls for compromises.
“We all have nothing to gain if the entire monetary or financial system in Afghanistan collapses, because then humanitarian aid can no longer be provided,” said Chancellor Angela Merkel after the G20 heads of state and government were called to a virtual meeting on Tuesday Summit in Italy.
The Taliban have tried to increase pressure by threatening to release Afghan migrants – who are likely to go to Europe – if the money is not released. However, Qatari mediators said Wednesday there is still no clear way to thaw Afghan government funds held overseas.
“It is possible that there will be a compromise, but we do not know to what extent and when it will happen,” said Dr. Weeda Mehran, lecturer and Afghanistan expert at Exeter University.
“But we know that without money, the Taliban will not be able to maintain control of the country. It already has enough problems with internal disputes and a young, digitally educated population that does not want to be ruled by the militants. “
Even if the Taliban regime paid the 9 billion
“The Taliban successfully fought an uprising. But running a country of 39 million people is a whole different matter, as complex banking, education, health and international relationships have to be managed. The Taliban have yet to resolve their own internal problems as different factions are shooting at each other, ”said Dr. Mehran.