UN paints grim picture of humanitarian situation in Afghanistan as winter nears

The UN on Thursday painted a bleak picture of the conditions in Afghanistan, warning that what was an already desperate humanitarian situation across the country will only get worse for millions of people as winter approaches.

''More than 28 million people – two-thirds of the entire population – will need humanitarian assistance, up from 18 million people just two years ago,'' said Joyce Msuya, UN assistant secretary-general for humanitarian affairs.

''A staggering 20 million people are already in crisis, or emergency levels of food insecurity.''

Msuya said that Afghanistan is one of the countries with the world's highest number of people at risk of famine.

The Taliban's return to power in Afghanistan on Aug. 15, 2021, followed by the disruption of international financial assistance has left the worn-torn country in economic, humanitarian and human rights crises.

''Families now spend at least 75% of their income on food, leaving little left over for other essential needs such as healthcare, education and emergencies,” she said.

''We urgently require $150 million, at a minimum, to secure the stocks of supplies we need, such as food and shelter materials.''

Msuya also said that women are still denied their basic rights, with teenage girls being banned from school for 425 days.

''This is an absolute abomination,'' she added.

She called on the Taliban to allow women to return to public life.

Women and girls have been deprived of their rights, including the right to education, and disappeared from the public under the Taliban, Afghanistan's de facto authorities.

The Taliban's latest ban on women prevents them from using gyms and entering parks.

Thousands of women have since lost their jobs or were forced to resign from government institutions and the private sector.

Girls have been prevented from attending middle and high school. Many women have demanded that their rights be reinstated by taking to the streets, protesting and organizing campaigns.

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