EU, UN raise alarm over deteriorating situation in Afghanistan

The EU and UN raised alarm Wednesday over recent deterioration humanitarian and security situations in Afghanistan.

It could get worse if serious steps are not taken to deal with the challenging issues in the war-torn country, two top EU and UN officials warned while speaking at an event to present a report titled “Escaping war in Afghanistan: Where to next?” held earlier at the Brussels Press Club.

“If you compare 2012 to now things aren’t moving in the right direction,” Toby Lanzer, UN Assistant Secretary General and Humanitarian Coordinator in Afghanistan, said.

“The sums of money spent on security, peace, and development in Afghanistan are astronomical. The government can do more but it isn’t doing more,” Lanzer added.

“It is going to be a challenging year from many angles. I do expect violence to go up. That is a reality we face,” said the UN official.

“I expect the number of people displaced to increase and the number of people returning from Iran and Pakistan to go up,” he said.

“Not a single displaced person, not a single returnee since 2016 has received land,” the UN official noted.

Lanzer also reiterated the UN’s supportive stand with all aid agencies wherever they are working in Afghanistan or other countries around the world.

On his part, EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid Christos Stylianides warned of a worsening security situation and a deepening economic crisis in the country and of serious repercussions.

“There were no signals of development in 2017,” he lamented, urging donors and partners to work more efficiently.

Stylianides noted that 2017 ended with 1.7 million people displaced across the country.

“We cannot afford a further deteriorating situation in Afghanistan,” said stressed the EU Commissioner.

Afghan people deserve dignity, respect, and normality after four decades of conflict and violence, he said, adding that Afghanistan cannot become a forgotten crisis.

Meanwhile, the two officials said the new report on Afghanistan, prepared by the Norwegian Refugee Council, the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, and Samuel Hall, reveals how intensifying conflict across the country has caused a sharp escalation in the numbers of Internal Displaced Persons across Afghanistan.

Presenting the study, Nassim Majidi, director of Samuel Hall, said more than one million Afghans have been newly displaced by conflict in the past two years alone, a threefold increase in less than five years.

In 2017, on average, 1,200 Afghans were forced to flee every single day.

Around 72 percent, or seven out of ten of the people surveyed who have returned back to Afghanistan after living as refugees abroad, have been displaced twice, many have been displaced three times, according to the report.

“The findings of our report should make European nations and Afghanistan’s neighbors freeze deportations and rethink their policies. Now is not the time to deport Afghans. War-torn Afghanistan today is no place to be returned to,” said the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Secretary General Jan Egeland.

“Decision-makers are likely to regret the massive involuntary returns at a time when condition worsen all over Afghanistan. It can destabilize the whole region and lead to immeasurable suffering among families deported,” he warned.

Source: Kuwait News Agency