Published on 6 January 2022
Even before the Taliban takeover, the country was struggling with Covid and a food crisis. Since then, the situation has deteriorated, with drought worsening in many parts of the country and an estimated 8 million people are now on the brink of famine. It’s a desperate situation.
What can the UK do about it?
We believe the UK Government should be providing more aid to ensure that food, water, medicines and shelter reaches those who need it most.
Blocks to humanitarian funding must be removed.
However, the delivery of aid has been hampered by the sanctions imposed on the Taliban regime by the UK government and other western powers - sanctions that need to be alleviated for humanitarian funding to get through. Getting money into Afghanistan is about life and death.
We welcome the steps taken by the UN in December 2021 to allow humanitarian aid to flow more freely. The UK government must now swiftly follow the UN guidelines. If the situation is not resolved imminently, we might need you to write to the Foreign Secretary. Please be ready to support this action.
More aid is needed.
Unblocking the current barriers for aid is the first step but it’s not enough in itself. The quantity of aid also needs to be ramped up.
In September, more than 5,000 of you emailed the Foreign Secretary to call for an increase in aid to Afghanistan. The response so far has been very disappointing.
The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson had pledged (in August 2021) to ‘double’ UK aid to Afghanistan to £286 million, but this is still below 2019 levels, before sweeping cuts to the UK aid budget were implemented. Given the UK’s role in creating this crisis, we believe we have a moral obligation to do better. We continue to press for a more generous response and may again ask for your help to put the pressure on. Watch this space.
How can we support Afghanistan refugees?
Thousands of you also called on the UK Government to do more to support Afghans seeking refuge in the UK.
The UK Government has committed (in August 2021) to resettle 5,000 Afghan refugees this year and a total of 20,000 over the next 4 years, however, we share the view of UK refugee charities that this is not enough.
We are disappointed that several months on, with a worsening situation, this resettlement scheme has not even got off the ground. All the while the UK Government is driving a bill through Parliament that would make it even harder for Afghans who make their own journeys to seek asylum in the UK.
To join other campaigns on this issue see JPIT’s (Joint Public Issues Team) page here.
While we continue to press the UK government to step up their response to this crisis, you can support those most in need by donating to our Afghanistan crisis appeal now.