Former UK Secretary slams West's damage in Afghanistan as 'catastrophic'
The former UK Foreign Secretary says the West has worsened the crisis for Afghans.
David Miliband, the former UK Foreign Secretary and Chief Executive of the International Rescue Committee, has expressed that the West has caused "catastrophic" harm on Afghanistan and its own reputation by imposing a starvation strategy on the nation.
He told The Guardian, “If we wanted to create a failed state we could not have a more effective policy mix than the one we have at the moment."
Days ago, the World Bank's management has supposedly approved a plan to use $1 billion from a frozen Afghanistan trust fund for education, agriculture, health, and family programs after US President Joe Biden’s decision to steal $7 billion from the poverty-stricken country's frozen assets to give them to families of 9/11 victims, although the perpetrators were mainly Saudi.
“I simply do not understand the lack of urgency to get this thing moving. It genuinely befuddles me that we should have allowed this to get so much worse so quickly,” he said.
He cautioned that the crisis was so severe that the UN's demand for $4 billion this year, which was to be addressed at a pledging conference next month, was likely to be increased to $10 billion the next year.
In a London visit, Miliband said, “What we are doing is not making it worse for the Taliban, it is making it worse for the people. We are not punishing the Taliban. It is ordinary Afghans that are paying the price of peace. It is not just a catastrophe of choice, but a catastrophe of reputation. This is a starvation policy.”
In Afghanistan, the number of malnourished children has increased, with children at clinics unable to crawl or stand due to famine.
Millions of Afghan children are struggling to survive severe food shortages during a harsh winter and economic crash, as international aid was cut off following the hasty withdrawal of US occupation forces.
The choice is a very brutal one. It is not ‘do you help the Taliban or not?’ It is “do you help the people or not?" he added.
Miliband expressed that salaries are not available to pay teacher salaries and US sanctions "continue to have a chilling effect on commercial activity even though there are carve-outs in US and international sanctions for humanitarian purposes."
“Then there is the liquidity crisis, so there is no capital underpinning the banking system so no one can lend or pay for imports. Finally, there are no technocrats or expertise in the Central Bank – they have all left. All this can be done without having to get into the issue of recognition of the Taliban."
The former secretary warned of the "economic freeze", caused by the many roadblocks, citing that aid should not just be given for humanitarian aid but to "underpin the economy."