UN Chief Calls For Injection Of Liquidity Into Afghan Economy
UNITED NATIONS, Oct 12 (NNN-XINHUA) – UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, yesterday, called for the injection of liquidity, to keep the Afghan economy afloat.
In addition to humanitarian aid, the international community needs to act, to prevent the economic collapse of Afghanistan, he told reporters.
Even before the Taliban takeover in Aug, Afghanistan’s fragile economy, which has been kept afloat by foreign aid over the past 20 years, suffered from the impact of drought and COVID-19. Right now, with assets frozen and development aid paused, the economy is breaking down. Banks are closing, and essential services, such as health care, have been suspended in many places, he noted.
“We need to find ways to make the economy breathe again. And this can be done without violating international laws or compromising principles. We must seek ways to create conditions that would allow Afghan professionals and civil servants to continue working, to serve the Afghan population,” he said.
“I urge the world to take action and inject liquidity into the Afghan economy to avoid collapse,” Guterres said.
This is a make-or-break moment, wared Guterres. “If we do not act and help Afghans weather this storm, and do it soon, not only they but all the world will pay the price.”
Without food, without jobs, without their rights protected, more and more Afghans will flee their homes in search of a better life. The flow of illicit drugs, criminal and terrorist networks will also likely increase. This will not only badly affect Afghanistan itself, but also the region and the rest of the world, he warned.
Guterres said, the issue of injecting liquidity should be treated independently of other issues, such as the questions of recognition or non-recognition of a government in Afghanistan, the question related to sanctions, and questions related to frozen assets.
There is a need to find ways – on the basis of respect for international law and principles – to inject liquidity for the economy not to collapse, and for the people not to suffer tremendously, he said. “The Afghan people cannot suffer a collective punishment because the Taliban misbehave.”
The diplomatic recognition of the Taliban and the injection of liquidity are completely different things, said Guterres.
The World Bank can create a trust fund and that trust fund can pay directly to Afghan people in need. The UN Development Programme has a trust fund that can pay directly to people in need or organisations in need. And there are many NGOs operating in Afghanistan, he said.
While the international community has consensus on humanitarian aid, things in relation to the injection of liquidity into the Afghan economy are moving too slowly.
Since their takeover, the Taliban have – at various times – promised Afghan citizens, including women, children, minority communities, former government employees, that they would protect their rights. Central to those promises was the possibility of women to move, work and enjoy their basic rights, and for girls to have effective access to all levels of education, the same as boys, he said.
Women and girls need to be the centre of attention. Their ability to learn, work, own assets, and live with rights and dignity will define progress. Eighty percent of Afghanistan’s economy is informal, with a preponderant role of women. Without them, there is no way the Afghan economy and society will recover, he said. “I strongly appeal to the Taliban to keep their promises to women and girls and fulfil their obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law.”
The United Nations is permanently engaging with the Taliban on the safety and security of its staff, humanitarian assistance and unhindered access for all, including female staff, and human rights with particular focus on women and girls’ rights, he said.
In Sept alone, more than 3.8 million people received food assistance; 21,000 children and 10,000 women received treatment for acute malnutrition; 32,000 people received non-food items, including blankets and warm clothes for winter; 10,000 children were reached with community-based education activities; 450,000 people were reached with primary and secondary health care; 160,000 farmers and herders were provided with livelihoods support; 12,000 people received emergency psycho-social and mental health support; 186,000 drought-affected people received water; and 150,000 people received hygiene promotion and hygiene kits, he said.