While the world capitals have all their energies and resources focused on the Ukraine crisis, the challenges faced by the people of Afghanistan are all but forgotten. The war-ravaged country Afghanistan has millions of its people faced with starvation, survival, health care and livelihood crisis. As per the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), “despite persistent humanitarian needs sparked by years of conflict and recurring drought, the current situation in Afghanistan is unparalleled, with more than 24.4 million people requiring humanitarian assistance to survive”.
Amid this milieu, many experts believe that the ‘international response’ to the Taliban takeover in August 2021 is responsible for the devastating socio-economic conditions of the country and its people. Despite knowing that Afghanistan was heavily dependent on foreign aid for survival and sustainability before the Taliban came to power; the US-led west preferred to halt billions of dollars in assistance while enforcing sanctions that have impeded relief work. Consequently, Afghans and Afghanistan have plummeted deep into the gravest of humanitarian crises.
There is no denying the fact that Ukraine and its people need global support and an end to the crisis but not at the cost of total neglect of deeply-troubled Afghans. After all, the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan is the baggage left over by the US and its allies as part and parcel of their long thirty-year’s war in Afghanistan. It would be criminal to leave Afghanistan and its people at the mercy of drought, floods, hunger, violence and instability. It would be equally a grave mistake to use and let other regional powers use Afghanistan for their own vested interests by pitching it against Pakistan, China or Central Asian Republics (CARs).
As far as Pakistan is concerned, history has never seen a time when major players had shown enough courage to own their mistakes and failures. Pakistan had always and will continue to be treated like a red-headed stepchild no matter what she does. Nonetheless, Pakistan believes that Afghanistan is its brotherly neighbouring country. They share a common, religious, ethnic and cultural bond. Whatever the differences between the two states are artificial and created by their common enemies. Had this realization of brotherhood not been there, Pakistan would not have extended unflinching and unhindered humanitarian, financial, diplomatic support to Afghanistan in testing times. Pakistan notwithstanding its own economic crisis has provided much-needed relief assistance for flood affected people of Afghanistan during April and May 2022. Pakistan has hosted Afghan refugees for more than 40 years and today hosts 1.4 million registered refugees. However, appreciation by the global community for Pakistan’s role as a generous host is usually need-based. Pakistan’s sacrifices in terms of life, property and financial losses in US’ war on terror are way more than often claimed by many officials of state department in the US. But let’s not talk about what is done. Lou Holtz once said, “If you burn your neighbor’s house down, it doesn’t make your house look any better”. Pakistan understands very well what Holtz said and that is why it had done to build Afghanistan more than its capability for it knew that a stable and prosper Afghanistan means stable and prosper Pakistan.
Pakistan has done its bit now is the time for the international community and the conscious global powers to come forward and lend a helping hand to drowning Afghanistan and its people. The mistrust between the US-led west and interim Afghan government is understandable but it is time to keep politics and wounded egos aside and help Afghans constructively. People of Afghanistan have suffered decades of “others” wars, now is the time for the world to show them that they are not just war-mongers rather committed to help them and plunge them out of poverty and starvation.
Author is a freelancer and can be reached at [email protected].