In the three months since the Taliban takeover, Afghanistan’s numerous economic and humanitarian challenges have reached a catastrophic tipping point. Many are predicting the country will soon experience the worst humanitarian crisis the world has seen in the past decade, with over half the population facing acute food insecurity and 97 percent of the country falling under the poverty line. The combination of a disorganized transition, the stoppage of aid, security threats, international sanctions and the freezing of Afghan assets would be an insurmountable challenge for any government — but the Taliban’s track record so far indicates they are alarmingly unprepared to handle a crisis of such magnitude.

Shoppers and vendors at a market in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021. (Jim Huylebroek/The New York Times)
Shoppers and vendors at a market in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021. (Jim Huylebroek/The New York Times)

While the international community is in agreement on the urgency of the crisis and the need for a coordinated response, many fear that the recent pledges for additional support are both too little and too late to avert the worst-case projections. A prolonged humanitarian crisis will not only drastically impact millions of Afghans, but will undermine regional stability and security given the high likelihood of increased displacement. There is broad consensus among aid agencies, international bodies and leading economists that greater and more urgent action needs to be taken to mitigate these compounding crises before the country enters the infamously harsh winter months. 

Join USIP for a discussion with leading international experts and aid workers on the current economic and humanitarian challenges in Afghanistan, as well as how the U.S and international community can better assist Afghans at this time of significant need. Take part in the conversation on Twitter with #AfghanistanUSIP.

Speakers

Scott Worden, welcoming remarks
Director, Afghanistan & Central Asia, U.S Institute of Peace

Vicki Aken
Afghanistan Country Director, International Rescue Committee 

William Byrd
Senior Expert, Afghanistan, U.S. Institute of Peace 

Abdallah Al Dardari
Resident Representative in Afghanistan, United Nations Development Program 

Khalid Payenda
Former Acting Finance Minister of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

Kate Bateman, moderator 
Senior Expert, Afghanistan, U.S. Institute of Peace 

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