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World News

Christian Aid calls for prayers, gov't action as Taliban mark 1 year in Afghanistan

by Tola Mbakwe

Christian Aid has said it's essential that the next UK prime minister act to prevent the current dire situation in Afghanistan turning into a humanitarian disaster.

The Taliban marked a year in power with small-scale celebrations by the group's fighters as Afghanistan struggles with rising poverty, drought, malnutrition and fading hope among women that they will have a decisive role in the country's future.

Some people fired celebratory gunshots in the air in Kabul and Taliban fighters gathered, waving the group's black and white flag to mark a year since they marched into the capital after series of battlefield victories.

But Christian Aid has interviewed Afghan families in several provinces to find out how their lives have changed one year on from the Taliban seizing power. All said a combination of soaring food and fuel prices and a seven-year drought has made life extremely difficult.

Fionna Smyth, head of global advocacy and policy at the charity said: "Agricultural production and the food that people need to survive, has been really, really hard hit. And this is at a time when food prices are continuing to rise because of the war in Ukraine as have energy prices. 

"So just to put that into some sort of context, the price of diesel is 89 per cent more than it was this time last year. Fertilizer is up 115 per cent. The price of wheat, which is so important to make bread, has gone up by 45 per cent. 

"So this means that people are really suffering a massive hunger crisis. And 18.9 million people are in what we call IPC three, which is just behind famine-like conditions, and over half the population are having to survive on humanitarian aid. That's pretty desperate."

Christian Aid has called for the UK government and the international community to reverse the cuts in last year's aid budget back to 0.7 per cent of GDP so there is more funding to go around. It's also called for restoration of the Afghan central bank so that money can be printed and circulated for the economy to function properly and reach those most in need. 

The charity also wants Afghan civil society organizations, particularly women-led organizations inside and outside Afghanistan, to be able to access funding and support so that 20 years of civil society development is not lost. 

Smyth told Premier to firstly pray for women and girls in Afghanistan. 

"Their teenage girls have not been able to go to school in Afghanistan for a year now. It's absolutely terrible. And they really were the hope for the people, for the future of Afghanistan, and they are desperate to get back to school".

"Praying for everybody to have enough to eat... we're having hard times and cost of living crisis here ourselves. I think everybody does appreciate that. But it's not like that - levels of starvation that are forcing people to sell their own daughters just so they can feed the rest of their family. So I think there's lots that we should be praying for, and of course, for peace and for peace to be maintained within Afghanistan as well."

Listen to Fionna Smyth's interview here: 


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