Caritas: 23 million Afghans suffer from hunger

Caritas: 23 million Afghans suffer from hunger A boy on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, runs during a dust storm at Qargha Lake April 20, 2021. Photo: CNS

Freiburg (KNA) Around three years after the Islamist Taliban took power in Afghanistan, the situation of the population there is dramatic, according to Caritas. “The humanitarian situation remains extremely precarious,” said Oliver Müller, head of the aid organisation Caritas Germany, in an interview with the magazine “Herder-Korrespondenz” (June issue).

“Around 23 million people, half the population, are suffering from hunger,” emphasised Müller. The seizure of power has had the effect of further accelerating the country’s economic decline – after decades of civil war and several natural disasters.

The end of the armed fighting has improved the security situation. “However, the dramatic deterioration in the human rights situation, particularly for ethnic minorities such as the Hazara and for women and girls, weighs very heavily,” said Müller. Women are excluded from access to universities and “from large parts of the work for aid organisations”.

Caritas has “red lines” of cooperation

Aid organisations could continue to be active in Afghanistan. However, the framework conditions must be constantly renegotiated, said the head of Caritas Germany. This is often difficult, but is currently feasible in many places. However, there are certainly “red lines” for cooperation on the part of Caritas: “If it is no longer possible for women to work with us and for us to work for women, we have to stop providing aid.” This has already happened in some provinces.

On the question of what has become of the local staff who once worked for Germany or the USA in Afghanistan, Müller said: “We can only speak for our employees who worked for us in our Kabul office until August 2021. Those of these colleagues who wanted to leave Afghanistan are now out of the country and have been accepted in Germany.” Settling in is “often a very rocky road for almost everyone”. It is frustrating that in many cases the professional qualifications of these people are not recognised.