Afghanistan is in a humanitarian crisis. According to the United Nations, more than half of Afghanistan’s population, 22.8 million, is in crisis due to food shortages.
When the United States withdrew from Afghanistan, it froze Afghanistan’s foreign assets. The reason may be that the Taliban toppled the regime supported by the United States and caused the United States to withdraw in the form of military defeat. But the Taliban’s armed struggle and its ideology are quite different dimension from the health of the Afghan people. The West such as the US see Taliban’s treatment of women as a problem, but Afghanistan is originally a country with a strong conservative tradition, and women are not seen in rural areas. We rarely see women working in Afghanistan except in Kabul, the capital.
The United States is the country with the most sanctions in the world, with 777 targets in 2020.
US-led economic sanctions also led to a humanitarian crisis against Iraq’s Saddam Hussein regime in the 1990s. According to the New York Times dated January 9, 1994, 400,000 people died in Iraq due to sanctions. According to this article, one-third of the victims were children under the age of five, and another two million became ill due to malnutrition. Food and medicine were said to be exempt from the sanctions, but hunger and illness were widespread in Iraq. In Iraq, the Hussein family and its surroundings, which were supposed to suffer the most from sanctions, have become the most profitable by the smuggling business.
Iran signed the “Iran Nuclear Agreement” in 2015 and resumed oil exports to Europe in February 2016 for the first time in three years. In 2017, foreign direct investment in Iran increased by 50%. However, as the Trump administration withdraws from the nuclear deal and tightens sanctions on Iran, Iran’s oil exports have fallen from 2.5 million barrels a day in early 2018 to around 500,000 barrels a day today. The Iranian rial’s currency has fallen by as much as 80%, food prices and housing costs have soared, and the unemployment rate has risen. The Biden administration should return to the Iran nuclear agreement and lift sanctions on Iran. Sanctions on Iran in the United States will greatly harm the health of Iranians.
There is an urgent need to lift economic sanctions on Afghanistan. The economic crisis in Afghanistan is exacerbated by economic sanctions by the United Nations and countries such as the United States, and governments and international banking agencies do not do direct business with the Central Bank of Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, the hard currency dollar and the local currency Afghani have become significantly scarce. Even paying teachers’ salaries has become difficult, and it has become difficult to buy fuel and food in the winter.
Politicians who impose economic sanctions lack the imagination of hunger and illness brought by sanction. Political leaders in the United States and other countries should imagine in their eyelids the children who are at a loss on the dry land of Afghanistan. Afghanistan should not be the second Iraq or Iran.
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