UN envoy warns Afghanistan at risk of ‘total breakdown’

Posted on September 10, 2021, 3:59 pm
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KABUL: The United Nations (UN) has warned that Afghanistan is at risk of “total breakdown” if the international community does not find a way to keep money flowing into Afghanistan.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said in a report that about 97 per cent of Afghanistan’s population may sink below the poverty line unless the country’s political and economic crises are addressed.

Meanwhile, nearly $10bn of Afghanistan’s central bank assets are currently frozen overseas and considered key leverage over the new administration.

UN special envoy on Afghanistan Deborah Lyons told the Security Council that a way needed to be found to get the money into the country “to prevent a total breakdown of the economy and social order” noting that Afghanistan was facing a storm of crises including a plunging currency, a sharp rise in prices for food and fuel and a lack of cash at private banks. The authorities also do not have the funds to pay salaries, she said.

“The economy must be allowed to breathe for a few more months, giving the Taliban a chance to demonstrate flexibility and a genuine will to do things differently this time, notably from human rights, gender, and counterterrorism perspective,” Lyons told the 15-member Council, saying safeguards could be devised to ensure the funds were not misused.

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