MADRID, 3 Oct. (EUROPA PRESS) –
The high representative of Foreign Policy of the European Union, Josep Borrell, has asked international leaders this Sunday to act to prevent a socio-economic collapse in Afghanistan after the return to power of the Taliban in mid-August.
“We need to have people on the ground in Afghanistan, in addition to our humanitarian workers. The question is not whether we should have a minimal EU presence, but when and how,” Borrell said.
The top European diplomat recalled that, since the Taliban took power, the EU has decided to increase humanitarian aid from 57 million euros to 200 million euros and, together with its member states, 677 million euros have been committed to help millions of Afghans.
However, it has also indicated that both the EU and the International Monetary Fund (IMF (and the World Bank) have for now suspended Afghanistan’s access to their programs due to the uncertain legitimacy of the new Afghan government.
“We agree on the need to avoid a socio-economic collapse in the coming months. This requires above all that the Taliban take the measures that allow the international community to help the Afghan people,” Borrell said.
This situation is causing a rapid devaluation of the Afghan currency and high inflation, as there are indications that food prices have risen by at least 50% since the Taliban took power.
Furthermore, the Afghan banking system remains largely paralyzed and Afghans cannot withdraw money from their accounts, while the healthcare system, which relied heavily on NGOs and foreign aid, “is on the brink of collapse.”
“If the situation continues and winter approaches, there is a risk of becoming a humanitarian catastrophe. Desperate people may flee the country, creating a massive migratory movement that will affect neighboring states, which are already home to more than three million. Afghan refugees, “Borrell explained.
At the moment, the EU is studying “possible options, taking into account the security situation, starting with an exploratory mission by the European External Action Service.
Last year, international assistance accounted for 43 percent of Afghanistan’s gross domestic product, helped to finance the trade deficit that amounts to 30 percent of GDP and to pay for 75 percent of civil servants’ payroll.