UNSC highlights humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, urges continued support

The UN Security Council in the recent Open Debate on Conflict-Induced Food Insecurity on Thursday highlighted the dire humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, urging for continued international aid to support at-risk people.

Representatives of several countries including the UK, Russia, India, Qatar, and Pakistan at the meeting voiced concerns and alarms to address the growing global food insecurity due to conflict and violence, including in Afghanistan.

According to the Wednesday UN Press Release, the UN Famine Prevention and Response Coordinator, Reena Ghelani, highlighted that the number of people suffering from acute food insecurity globally reached a quarter billion in 2022—the highest record in recent years.

At least 376,000 people are facing famine-like conditions in seven countries, with women and children the most impacted, she stated, adding that Afghanistan among them has regularly remained on the Security Council’s agenda.

Barbara Woodward, Permanent Representative of the UK to the UN, said that the Secretary-General’s New Agenda for Peace calls for renewed multilateral cooperation and putting women, such as those in Afghanistan who are facing a choice between selling their children or starving, at the center of peace initiatives.

Dmitry A. Polyanskiy, the Representative of Russia, said that the most acute food crises are directly or indirectly provoked by the action of the US or its allies.

He pointed to Afghanistan as an example, saying that the country has been struggling to climb out of the abyss of hunger and poverty for over 20 years because of the experiments carried out by the US-led coalition to democratize the country in a Western fashion.

Ruchira Kamboj, the Representative of India, highlighted India’s humanitarian initiatives for Afghanistan, indicating India’s donation of 50,000 metric tons of wheat to the people of Afghanistan.

Mohammad Aamir Khan, the Deputy Representative of Pakistan, said that 117 million of the 258 million food-insecure people live in 19 war and conflict zones. He added that 15.3 million people in Afghanistan are projected to face high food insecurity.

Since the Taliban takeover in August 2021, the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan has worsened, making it one of the world’s most critical crises. Over two-thirds of the population, approximately 28.8 million people, now require urgent humanitarian assistance.

Humanitarian organizations estimate that $2.26 billion is needed by the end of 2023 to provide essential multi-sectoral assistance to 20 million people.