Afghanistan: development aid despite Taliban rule?
Many Afghans are fleeing Taliban rule and the threat of civil war. To make matters worse, the country is suffering from a severe drought and famine. While Western countries are flying out as many of their compatriots and Afghans who worked for them as possible, the urgent questions now are how to help the people in the country and whether it should continue to receive development aid.
Forget the big words
Even under the rule of the Taliban the country needs humanitarian aid, writes NRC Handelsblad columnist and agronomist Louise O. Fresco, explaining:
“Just leave out the big words like democracy and nation-building. Start with simple and concrete measures. Rural development and securing food supplies must be a priority, even for the Taliban. This can only be done if the major powers jointly agree not to supply weapons or money to the militias. And to put an end to the opium trade. Supporting the armed groups leads to terror and instability in the villages. That's in nobody's interest in the long run.”
Take a good look at what the money is doing
Sweden doesn't want to cut its aid budget for Afghanistan, but Foreign Minister Ann Linde has insisted that "not a single krona" should go to the Taliban. Göteborgs-Posten calls for a fundamental rethink:
“For a long time now, the debate on development aid has been based solely on the premise that the only alternatives were stinginess or charity. ... The total debacle in Afghanistan, however, now shows that the matter is not as simple as all that. Now that the nation-building model has proven to be a Potemkin village the time has come to question parts of the previous model of development aid. ... After 2021, we in the West should no longer readily assume that the benefits we hope for will actually follow from good intentions.”
When the country loses all its critical minds
La Stampa takes a critical look at how the emergency in Afghanistan is being handled:
“The rescue campaigns are characterised by an incurably corporate vision of the world: journalists are rescuing journalists, doctors are rescuing medical staff, feminists are rescuing women, and writers are rescuing writers whose books they have never read. Without questioning whether it is not a nice gift to the Taliban to remove from Afghanistan all those who represent a humane political and cultural alternative to fundamentalist thinking. ... New generations in the Islamic Emirate will believe that there is nothing beyond unity thinking - the best guarantee for a thousand-year rule.”
We will soon forget Afghanistan
Domestic debates over new waves of refugees will soon lead to people not thinking at all about those in need in Afghanistan, El Mundo fears:
“We will start to forget Afghanistan and in the meantime a new wave of refugees will arrive in Europe. ... New migrants who will once again trigger humanitarian debates that should never have existed. Moreover, as we are already seeing, the arrival of refugees is being used to sell excessive government propaganda. Those fleeing the fear are welcome. But in the meantime, those in Afghanistan who suffer under the new situation will once again be forgotten.”