After another wave of escalation of the armed conflict, the Taliban took over the government from mid-August 2021. We are currently witnessing a rare transfer of power, with the newly declared Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan taking control of the country's administration. The process is currently very opaque - the new legislation is incomplete, the programmatic objectives of the new government are unclear, the public sector is partially paralysed, the financial and banking services are dysfunctional and the new security forces have still failed to fully take control of Afghan territory and ensure the security of the civilian population. At the same time, we are receiving a large number of reports of human rights violations or restrictions (especially against women or minority groups), targeted attacks on certain groups and restrictions on the free movement of Afghan citizens out of the country.
Unfortunately, this transition of power has taken place at a time when Afghanistan has been facing a humanitarian crisis for several years and an armed conflict that has lasted over four decades. The country, wracked by internal conflict, was struggling with high unemployment, the effects of climate change, the aftermath of conflict, a declining economy due to a pandemic and growing malnutrition among the population. The current needs of the local population are virtually unimaginable and the greatest since 2001. According to UN data, more than half of the population (18 million people) is currently food insecure. Given the decline in employment in the country, along with the freezing of much of the local industry, up to 97% of the population may fall below the poverty line in the next year, according to UN data.
However, People in Need remains committed to providing assistance to the local population. We started working in Afghanistan at the end of 2001. Our focus was not only on humanitarian aid, but also on long-term solutions to problems directly related to education, livelihood issues, rural community development and improving the quality of life of the local population.
Given the current complicated and agonizing situation in the country, we are pleased to have maintained the operational mission (in Kabul and Mzar-e-Sharif) and are in a strong position to expand our programmatic capacity. In response to the current situation, we are currently focusing exclusively on humanitarian projects and have fully adapted our team to these purposes.