Hasina Safi, a prominent advocate for women’s rights and the former Minister for Women’s Affairs in Afghanistan has expressed deep concerns about the international community’s response to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.
In a recent interview in Belfast with Al Jazeera, Safi conveyed the prevailing sentiment in the war-torn country, now under Taliban rule, as one of abandonment and neglect.
In the wake of the Taliban’s resurgence in 2021, Safi’s ministry was replaced by a new one focused on “guidance and preaching.”
Unfortunately, she pointed out that the pledges made during the withdrawal of US and UK troops in late August 2021 have not been followed up with tangible and practical actions, leaving the Afghan population at risk of feeling let down.
Safi spoke with Al Jazeera during the One Young World summit, a gathering that brought together thousands of young people from over 190 countries in Belfast. She remarked that the situation outside of Afghanistan is marked by confusion and a lack of clear direction.
“The international community is grappling with uncertainty. There are conferences, events, and various programs, but there is a conspicuous absence of practical results that can genuinely alleviate the disappointment felt by those inside Afghanistan who are in vulnerable situations,” Safi noted.
Safi raised concerns about several decrees issued by the Taliban authorities, which have yet to receive official recognition from any international government. These decrees are perceived as infringing upon fundamental international human rights principles.
She lamented the lack of progress and coordination in supporting the Afghan people as decrees and directives continue to be issued, often affecting daily life, from clothing and makeup to mobility.
Afghanistan has felt increasingly isolated as its plight slips from the global news agenda. Safi emphasized, “I won’t say there’s merely a ‘sense of abandonment’ there is, in fact, abandonment.
Period. Afghanistan is an integral part of the global human community, and when the world turns its back on Afghanistan, it is essentially abandoning a part of itself.”
In light of these challenges, Safi stressed the urgent need to ramp up humanitarian aid efforts in Afghanistan, especially considering that nearly 50% of the population lived below the poverty line even before Western forces withdrew from the region.
She also underscored the importance of ensuring access to higher education for girls and women in Afghanistan. She called for a comprehensive reevaluation of the international community’s support based on the genuine needs of the Afghan people.
She proposed the development of a consolidated report covering the perspectives and experiences of those within Afghanistan, the diaspora, and the international community, which would outline a strategic vision for addressing the crisis.