In just six months since the western military withdrawal and the fall of Kabul in August 2021, Afghanistan has spiralled into one of the world’s largest humanitarian emergencies, leaving 40 million people facing extreme poverty and one million children on the brink of famine. The UN has launched its largest country appeal last month.
Significant political capital has been focused on the conduct of the Taliban and efforts to hold them accountable for commitments to human rights and the protection of development progress made in the last 20 years, particularly for women and girls. Yet, less attention has been given to addressing the proximate causes of Afghanistan’s economic collapse, which is in turn driving the humanitarian catastrophe.
When Kabul fell, overnight 40% of Afghanistan’s GDP was wiped out with the halt in development aid, causing the immediate loss of 75% of government spending. Assets worth over $9 billion have been frozen, leading to a liquidity crisis which has permeated every aspect of life for the people of Afghanistan. At the same time, a lack of clarity on the application of international sanctions has left banks unwilling to engage in Afghanistan with confidence, undermining the functioning of the private sector and the humanitarian response.
This event will examine:
The trends of the current conflict and crisis landscape, and the trends underpinning them.
The current state of the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.
The role that western donor policy plays in Afghanistan’s economic collapse.
What policy reforms could alleviate human suffering.
What help Afghanistan needs to move away from the financial cliff edge created by western economic withdrawal.
A post-event reception will follow this event from 19:00 - 20:00. All attendees are welcome to join us for drinks and meet fellow guests.
This event forms part of Chatham House’s continuing work on the future of conflict.
As with all Chatham House member events, questions from members drive the conversation.