EU calls for measures to prevent the socio-economic collapse in Afghanistan

The High Representative for Foreign Policy of the European Union, Josep Borrell, called on international heads of state and government this Sunday to take measures to prevent a socio-economic collapse in Afghanistan after the return of the Taliban in mid-August.

“In Afghanistan we need people on site in addition to our humanitarian aid workers. The question is not if we should have a minimal EU presence, but when and how, ”said Borrell.

EU calls for measures to prevent the socio-economic collapse in Afghanistan
EU calls for measures to prevent the socio-economic collapse in Afghanistan

The top European diplomat recalled that since the Taliban came to power, the EU had decided to increase humanitarian aid from 57 million euros to 200 million euros and, together with its member states, had pledged 677 million euros for millions of Afghans.

However, he has also pointed out that both the EU and the International Monetary Fund (IMF (and World Bank) have suspended Afghanistan’s access to their programs for the time being due to the uncertain legitimacy of the new Afghan government.

“We agree that a socio-economic collapse must be avoided in the coming months. This requires, above all, that the Taliban take the measures that enable the international community to help the Afghan people,” said Borrell.

This situation is leading to a rapid devaluation of the Afghan currency and high inflation, as food prices have risen by at least 50% since the Taliban came to power.

In addition, the Afghan banking system is still largely paralyzed and Afghans are unable to withdraw money from their accounts, while the health system, which relies heavily on NGOs and foreign aid, is “on the verge of collapse”.

“If the situation continues and winter approaches, a humanitarian catastrophe threatens. Desperate people could flee the country and trigger a massive migratory movement that affects neighboring countries, where more than three million already live. Afghan refugees, “Borrell explained.

The EU is currently examining “possible options, taking into account the security situation, starting with an exploratory mission from the European External Action Service.

Last year, international aid accounted for 43 percent of Afghanistan’s gross domestic product, helped finance the trade deficit of 30 percent of GDP, and paid 75 percent of public servants’ payroll.

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