October Quarterly Update 2021
In the wake of the stunning speed of the Taliban insurgency following the departure of US and other international forces from Afghanistan, Crisis Action has launched an emergency response to mitigate immediate risks to Afghan men, women and children. More than 50 partners joined a call on 17 August to compare notes and share information about how to support Afghans at particular risk – both those in the country and those seeking to leave.
Climate disaster, intense fighting and fear of the Taliban revenge have displaced almost three million Afghan civilians in 2021. With the Taliban now consolidating their political control over the organs of the state and economy, tens of thousands of Afghans who worked for the previous government and civil society are now at risk of violent reprisal and are urgently seeking to flee the country. It’s clear that international actors were caught off-guard despite constant warnings that the Taliban had become stronger over the course of the 20-year US-led war. Most Western embassies have closed and evacuated. Humanitarian actors are concerned about the space to continue their operations, especially because Afghanistan was in a chronic humanitarian crisis even before this latest change in power. Consultations with new UN emergency relief chief Martin Griffiths suggested that one priority will be to get a concerted joint push for humanitarian and development actors to work together to insist with the Taliban and sub-regional authorities on the principles, parameters and context required for effective humanitarian and development operations – an approach with respect for fundamental human rights at its heart.
Though much remains uncertain, it’s clear that President Biden’s decision will have far-reaching consequences not only for the long-suffering people of Afghanistan but for wider geo-political dynamics. Crisis Action’s ambitions for the protection and empowerment of populations at risk of conflict has exponentially increased.