Aid cuts causing ‘catastrophic health crisis’ in Afghanistan

Islamabad, Feb 2, (dpa/GNA) – The sharp reduction in foreign assistance to Afghanistan since the Taliban’s return to power in 2021, has severely harmed the country’s healthcare system, Human Rights Watch said in a report on Monday.

“The loss of foreign development aid and Taliban rights violations, have caused a catastrophic health crisis in Afghanistan, that is disproportionately harming women and girls,” said Fereshta Abbasi, Afghanistan researcher at the New York-based group.

“The Taliban have severely obstructed women from providing or accessing health care, while the cost of treatment and medicine has put care out of reach for many Afghans,” Abbasi said.

The organization called on governments to press the Taliban at the upcoming UN-organized meeting in Doha on Sunday, to remove restrictions on women’s education and employment, while supporting resources for the healthcare system and essential services such as banking, water management, and electricity.

The United Nations estimates that 23.7 million people – more than half of Afghanistan’s population – will need humanitarian assistance in 2024.