UK should restore diplomatic presence to help Afghan women, says aid chief

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The UK should see restoring its negotiated beingness successful Afghanistan to support Afghan women and to thief show nan effect of British aid, a commissioner for nan charismatic UK assistance watchdog has suggested.

Hugh Bayley, who visited Kabul successful May, said he believed Afghan women and NGOs would invited much occidental diplomats to correspond nan opinions of women to nan Taliban arsenic he released a study by nan Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) connected nan effectiveness of nan UK programme, which is nan 2nd largest operated by Britain.

The UK pulled each negotiated practice retired of Afghanistan arsenic nan Taliban took complete successful 2021, and since past Afghan slope assets held overseas person been frozen, and nan economy has nosedived. Yet arsenic overmuch arsenic $2.9bn (£2.3bn) of assistance has been sent to nan country, mostly to NGOs alternatively than to Taliban-directed ministries.

No authorities recognises nan Taliban arsenic nan Afghan government, though countries including Russia, China, Iran, Turkey and India person opened negotiated missions successful Kabul.

Bayley said nan benefits of a British beingness had been put to him by NGOs, connected apical of nan regular visits to Kabul from nan UK ngo successful Doha.

“The UK’s £150m programme successful Afghanistan is presently our 2nd biggest bilateral programme anyplace successful nan world, 2nd aft Ukraine, and ICAI’s position is that if you are dispensing that magnitude of British taxpayer’s money, you request eyes connected nan crushed to spot really it has been spent,” he said.

“If occidental countries don’t person a beingness connected nan crushed and don’t prosecute pinch some Afghan civilian nine and nan Taliban, past nan occidental assistance funded attack will execute less,” he said, pointing retired that though nan UK authorities has a target for 50% of its assistance to scope women, “it is intolerable successful nan lawsuit of Afghanistan without a beingness connected nan crushed to cognize if nan target is being met”.

Bayley added that he had been told nan absence of negotiated missions made it harder for world NGOs because they were identified arsenic nan voices of nan occidental world. A elder UN charismatic had told him: “If we do not prosecute pinch Afghan citizens including nan Taliban we will pain 1 span aft another.”

He said though women were genuinely beneficiaries of aid, Afghanistan could beryllium “heading for a catastrophe since gender restrictions imposed by nan Taliban intends nan number of trained midwives is quickly declining, storing up problem successful nan future.

“Multiple powerfulness struggles are going connected betwixt nan Taliban, Afghan citizens and particularly women. Women successful section NGOs are actively and bravely resisting pushing backmost against nan Taliban successful meetings, and it was clear that contempt nan effort to marginalise women, immoderate are still going to work, including midwives that opportunity to men, “If you want babies to die, extremity maine from going to work.’”

Bayley besides said he heard that galore infirmary counsellors were reporting heavy distress bordering connected nan suicidal among girls of schoolhouse age, who the Taliban had removed from education. “I was told these women of secondary schoolhouse property are successful nan depths of despair,” he said.

He said he had been told women recovered it much difficult to entree nutrient assistance because they cannot usage nationalist carrier and taxis were expensive.

Two cloaked women sewing
Some girls successful Kabul person turned to tailoring training aft an acquisition ban. Photograph: Samiullah Popal/EPA

“You’re bound to person an affectional guidance to nan aggravated cruelty and marginalisation of women and girls,” Bayley said, but astatine nan aforesaid clip he hailed nan “tremendous courage” pinch which truthful galore were resisting. He besides praised nan UK for diverting a batch of its reduced Afghan assistance fund to NGOs.

More broadly he urged nan world not to let Afghanistan to go a forgotten humanitarian crisis, aliases for assistance to go exclusively humanitarian. “Over nan adjacent 2 to 5 years we person to modulation to development, humanitarian assistance without improvement is not sustainable,” Bayley said.

The numbers successful Afghanistan classified arsenic successful humanitarian request had dropped to 23.7 cardinal past year, down from 28.3 million. This was partially owed to an improved harvest and nan appreciation of nan section currency.

But Bayley said UN humanitarian assistance appeals for Afghanistan were not being backed. The 2024 UN humanitarian needs overview for nan county, released past December, appeals for $3.06bn. Less than a 4th (23%) of this has been funded arsenic of 9 May this year.

The ICAI assistance study said Afghanistan’s mean yearly somesthesia had accrued by almost doubly nan world mean since 1951. It added that climate-crisis models predicted early temperatures would proceed to emergence faster than nan world average. Annual droughts are predicted to go nan norm successful galore parts of nan state by 2030.

“It’s basal for nan world organization to move beyond a situation consequence to a consequence that builds capacity and resilience wrong Afghanistan,” Bayley said. “Unless these problems are addressed, nan humanitarian situation is going to proceed for years and decades, and nan plight of mean Afghan group will get worse and worse.”

Source theguardian