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The earthquake in Afghanistan did not leave this girl with nothing. Can the West help it without funding the Taliban?

The earthquake in Afghanistan did not leave this girl with nothing.  Can the West help it without funding the Taliban?


A young girl sits in front of a pile of rubble that used to be her home. Her entire family is buried there.

You can still see the remnants of their lives before the deadliest earthquake in Afghanistan in more than 20 years, like a green rug that appeared in the house.

She is in so much shock, she cannot speak or even say her name.

It’s people like this girl who wait for support as rescue teams struggle to enter devastated communities and governments like Australia that are contemplating where and how to send aid.

More than 1,000 people were killed, but that number is expected to rise for days as the difference passes through the rubble of homes destroyed by the 6.1-magnitude earthquake.

Afghans look at the devastation caused by an earthquake in eastern Afghanistan’s Paktika province (AP via Bakhtar News Agency)

Aid agencies on the ground told ABC they are struggling to reach remote villages in the eastern provinces of Afghanistan to search for survivors and assess the true extent of the damage.

“We are taking people who are under destroyed shelters and mud,” said Mohammad Anwar Hanif, head of the Afghan relief agency CARE International.

“This week’s heavy rain, along with the wind, has been a huge challenge for the rescue teams there.

“So [the] The situation on the ground is unfortunately not normal yet, and the rescue operation is still underway.”

Senior officials from the Taliban, the hardline Islamist movement that rules Afghanistan, have called for international support.

“The Taliban are financially unable to help people to the extent required,” said Abdul Qahar Balaki, the leader of the Taliban.

A site for Afghan boys near their destroyed home, which was destroyed in the tragedy. (AFP)

However, the Australian government has not committed to sending the aid, saying only that it will work with its partners on the ground.

This earthquake exacerbated a difficult moral dilemma for Australia and other like-minded nations: How can they help the Afghan people deal with another unimaginable situation without directly supporting the Taliban?

Losing diplomatic relations is devastating

When the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan in August of last year, the country became an international pariah, and was sanctioned by much of the world.

Before the acquisition, about 80 percent of the country’s budget came from foreign aid.

Most of that was cut — nearly $10 billion ($14 billion) was frozen by foreign governments and institutions, led by the United States.

Some countries, such as Canada, have listed the Taliban as a terrorist organization and the group has faced international calls to respect the rights of all citizens, halt executions and preserve cultural sites.

While hunger and poverty were common in Afghanistan, these sanctions created an economic crisis not seen in more than 20 years.

Space for play or pause, M for mute, left and right arrows for searching, up and down arrows for volume. Hundreds were killed in Afghanistan after the earthquake that struck the country.

“The situation after the Taliban takeover last year has changed things in two ways…one is the deterioration of the economic situation, increasing poverty among the communities, going into a critical situation, and people are in a very bad situation,” said Dr. Hanif.

“The cold winter last winter was another big challenge for people and the other thing is the brain drain. A lot of people left the country, so the skilled people became [fewer]. “

More than half of the population, at least 23 million Afghans, face severe levels of famine, according to the United Nations.

Experts warned that such a situation could occur, but they did not expect it to happen so quickly.

The situation has become so dire that families have resorted to selling their children.

In their first press conference since taking power last year, the Taliban reiterated their desire to establish diplomatic relations “with all countries” of the world, but said they also wanted their “values” to be respected.

Thousands of families were torn apart in the aftermath of the earthquake. (AFP)

Some Western powers, such as the European Union, have said they may be willing to work with the organization if the Taliban respect human rights.

However, in the 10 months since they seized power, this has not materialized, as rights, particularly of women and girls, have been curtailed in the country.

Australia, along with other nations, no longer had officials on the ground and refused to help the regime.

However, with Afghanistan facing yet another disaster, pressure is mounting on Australia and others to intervene.

“We, as Afghans, need urgent support…so this is the most important thing, we are all asking everyone to be humanitarian actors, how can we support these people,” said Dr. Hanif.

“The situation on the ground is critical.”

“Every penny helps,” aid organizations say, despite the Taliban

Afghanistan’s ambassador to Canberra – part of the government-in-exile and independent of the Taliban – said the group’s grip on power should not prevent the Australian government from donating to the country.

Governments that withhold support are hurting people on the ground, rather than the Taliban, said Jackie Fristaki, head of the Australian Afghan Development Organization.

“I would like to stress that this earthquake is the reason why the economic sanctions against the Taliban should be eased,” she said.

Most of the confirmed deaths occurred in Paktika State, and deaths were also reported in the eastern provinces of Nangarhar and Khost.

“Afghans are an exceptional and resilient people who live off nothing, yet still help their neighbors and other disadvantaged people.

“However, the lack of financial resources, limited funds to pay salaries, purchase necessities, tools, and access money in banks, due to the severe impact of the sanctions, has caused a widespread economic collapse with many continuing to starve and suffer from severe malnutrition.

“So the sanctions limit the ability of the Afghan people to effectively deal with such a disaster as well as their daily problems, just trying to survive.”

Australia has previously followed in the US’s lead when it comes to operations in Afghanistan – for example, both countries withdrew their forces at the same time.

Other close friends of Australia, such as Japan, have announced that they will send support, but the United States has said it is not aware of any immediate requests from the Taliban for help.

“I imagine the humanitarian response to the earthquake will be a topic of discussion between US and Taliban officials in the coming days,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

Australia and the United States are concerned about where the aid money will go and whether it will fall into the pockets of the Taliban rather than those who need it most.

Experts say this situation can be avoided by donating directly to aid organizations.

However, those who hope the country has a future say its people desperately need help.

“What we can see is an increase in poverty and a worse life situation for the people, and this is what we can see and feel within the people of Afghanistan,” says Dr. Hanif.

“The most important thing we can say is to think about the biggest impact the population has on the public.

“Every penny would be really helpful in saving people’s lives.”

Announced 11 hours ago11 hours agoTuesday, June 23, 2022 at 7:00 pm, update 9 hours ago, Thursday, June 23, 2022 at 8:49 pm




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