Food prices in Afghanistan have jumped more than 50% since the Taliban took power in August (File)


Afghanistan faces a collapse of its economic and social systems that threatens to turn into a humanitarian catastrophe, the European Union’s foreign policy chief said on Sunday.

Avoiding the worst-case scenario would force the Taliban to comply with conditions that would allow for more international aid, Josep Borrell wrote in a blog post.

“Afghanistan is experiencing a serious humanitarian crisis and a socio-economic collapse is looming, which would be dangerous for Afghans, the region and international security,” Borrell wrote.

Food prices in the country have jumped more than 50% since the Taliban took power in August, the freezing of $ 9 billion in Afghan assets held in foreign central bank reserves and the withdrawal of foreign income fueling inflation.

Afghanistan’s banking system is largely crippled, with people unable to withdraw cash, while the country’s healthcare system – which depended heavily on foreign aid – is on the verge of collapse, Borrell says .

“If the situation continues and as winter approaches, it risks turning into a humanitarian disaster,” he wrote, adding that it could trigger massive migration to neighboring states.

The 27-country EU has increased humanitarian aid to Afghanistan since the Taliban took power, but has suspended development aid – a move also taken by other countries and the World Bank.

The EU’s response to the crisis would depend on the behavior of the new Afghan authorities, Borrell said, and any resumption of relations would require respect for conditions, including human rights.

“This requires above all that the Taliban take measures that will allow the international community to help the Afghan people,” he said, adding that female staff in international agencies must be able to do their job.

Numerous reports of human rights violations and the exclusion of girls from schools have shattered optimism that the Taliban’s approach has changed since they first ruled Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001.

Borrell met with Qatari officials last week in the Qatari capital Doha, where the Taliban have representation.

He said Qatar’s contacts with the Taliban were aimed at moderating their behavior, and urged Doha to use its contacts with them to ensure that the “worst case scenario” for Afghanistan can be avoided.

(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and is posted from a syndicated feed.)

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