1 Million Afghan Children at Risk of Starvation, Warns UNICEF Chief

As Taliban faces several economic and humanitarian crises, UNICEF is trying to find a way to deliver aid to Afghanistan amid western opposition.

  • 1 Millions Afghan Children at Risk of Starvation, Warns UN Chief | Getty
    Afghan children hold dishes as they wait to receive food donated by a private charity for the needy during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan in the city of Jalalabad (AFP)

UNICEF executive director Henrietta Fore warned Monday that at least one million children in Afghanistan are going to suffer from acute malnutrition in 2021 and could die unless proper care is provided.

The UN official noted that children in Afghanistan have long suffered disproportionately from several crises, including the humanitarian, security, social, and economic ones plaguing the country, and have been doing so for decades. She also stressed that they needed the international community's help.

On the last note, she elaborated by saying, "At least 1 million children will suffer from severe acute malnutrition this year and could die without treatment," while underscoring that this number is at an increase, alongside that of unaccompanied and separated children.

Fore implored the international community to take urgent action on Afghanistan, warning that not doing so would exacerbate the "grim situation" facing the central Asian country's children. She cautioned that the situation is likely to deteriorate over the coming months due to severe drought and water scarcity, concerns regarding finances for the continuity of basic services, winter, and COVID-19's repercussions.

The executive director wants the international community to increase support for the United Nations' humanitarian agencies as a means of helping those in crisis. "Please help us," she said.

It is noteworthy that the majority of the West's developed nations froze their direct aid to Afghanistan after the Taliban took over the country, under the pretext of not wanting to provide aid for the group - something UNICEF opposed. "We need to ensure aid is not politicized - prioritization of funding decisions should be based on needs first," UNICEF said. 

The west sees blocking aid to Afghanistan as a way to put pressure on the Taliban into complying with its standards. As this is going on, UNICEF is seeking ways to deliver aid to the Southern Asian country to aid the crisis-stricken Afghans. "We must look for ways to deliver timely and sustained assistance at scale," urged Fore.