Kabul, 24 January 2022 (TDI): Afghanistan faces the collapse of its essential services as public sector salaries remain unpaid. Many families also face the prospect of hunger as the frigid winter rages on.
The United Nations is aiming to provide the country with $4.4 billion in emergency aid to help the poverty-stricken, but the provision of money to essential services is still up in the air. Save the Children, a charity organization urged the World Bank (WB) to release the money to help support the education and health sectors in Afghanistan.
Several other charities based in Afghanistan have urged the WB to release more than $1.2 billion in frozen funds to help pay for teachers’ salaries and government workers to prevent a collapse of essential services from happening, these workers are owed months of wages as they have continued to work without pay.
“We need development finance alongside humanitarian support. There are countless examples of how the bank could distribute money. The consequence of inaction is that lives are being put at risk and opportunities for education destroyed for no obvious purpose.” -Kevin Watkins, a fellow at The London School of Economics.
The WB froze the aid money to avoid it from going into the hands of the Taliban regime under pressure from countries such as the United States. $280 million were disseminated in December as an emergency relief fund by the World Bank. The Executive Board asked officials to look into ways other than humanitarian assistance to extend support.
“It becomes a vicious circle with everybody waiting for everybody else. But people need to get through winter or they will starve. Parents are selling their children. We can’t wait, we have to act now.” -Gwen Hines, head of Save the Children, UK.
A spokesperson from the World Bank said discussions are taking place with the board of development partners on how to best move forward and provide education, health, and livelihood support for the people of Afghanistan.