On Thursday, a 6.1 magnitude earthquake in Afghanistan killed over 1,000 civilians and injured over 1,500. Adding a sour icing to the devastating layer cake of challenges Afghans face, humanitarian efforts are stumbling against hurdles of US sanctions designed to isolate the Taliban. These conditions, dire by any measure, are in part a result of a rushed and lacking policies yielding devastating consequences.
If not for decency, then for the decades long support, cooperation, and goodwill we owe Afghans humanitarian aid in what has become one of their darkest hours. Patricia McIlreavy, president and CEO of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, stated “the challenge in Afghanistan is that it’s not just one thing. It’s layer upon layer of different issues that impact you and your response and can vary according to what population you’re serving and what part of the country you’re working in.” The impact of sanctions intended to curtail normalization of Taliban is yielding an inverse impact with many seeing the Taliban as the only body attempting to help.
Those suffering at the hands of the Taliban regime, the decades of US intervention, and the victims of this disaster are the ones paying the price of our nation’s policies. We call on our government to ease restrictions for humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, and to lead global humanitarian efforts in supporting the Afghan population, including the victims of this earthquake.