After four decades of conflict and crises, the people of Afghanistan are facing multiple threats, including hunger, violence, extreme poverty, human rights abuses and COVID-19.
One in three Afghans do not have enough food. Over half a million have been forced to flee their homes since January. More women and children have been killed or wounded in the first half of this year, than in any full year since records began in 2009.
And the situation is deteriorating rapidly. Reports are emerging every day of atrocities and abuses - including against women, minorities, and journalists. Yesterday, two bomb attacks outside Kabul airport killed dozens of civilians and halted evacuations. Most land borders are now shut. Thousands of Afghans who worked with the US, UK and others remain in the country. Hundreds of thousands are thought to be at serious risk of violence. Around 18 million need humanitarian assistance.
The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and several UN agencies are on the ground. But they need funding and political support.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called for a meeting of the five permanent members of the Security Council (China, France, Russia, the UK and the US) on Monday, following a lacklustre press statement by the Council earlier this month and an inadequate resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council.
Here are five things you can do to help:
- The World Food Programme has helped over 5 million people in Afghanistan this year. It is working now to get supplies in place to meet immediate needs and prepare for the winter. Donate to their emergency appeal
- UNICEF is on the ground reaching vulnerable children and families with life-saving supplies such as water, vaccines and hygiene kits. Donate now
- The UN Refugee Agency is helping Afghans with emergency shelter and cash assistance - in Afghanistan and in neighbouring countries such as Pakistan and Iran, which already host more than 2 million Afghan refugees. Donate now
- Write to your MP and ask them to advocate for:
- The UK Missions in New York and Geneva to work vigorously in support of a stronger mandate and more resources for UNAMA, as well as for the creation of an investigative mechanism to document human rights violations
- The UK resettlement scheme to be expanded, and for the UK to work with others to create safe pathways for Afghan - and indeed all - refugees
- If you have a spare room, you can make a huge difference by signing up to host a refugee e.g. with Refugees At Home or Sanctuary Hosting
Photo: A view of Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. Credit UNAMA/Fardin Waezi