Hostages of the politics of "Uncle Sam"
The United States and its allies, with their inaction, are heating up the situation in Afghanistan and the region.
According to The Moscow Post correspondent, diplomats and security analysts from countries neighboring Afghanistan, with the exception of China and Pakistan, gathered in New Delhi on Wednesday to discuss how to interact with the Taliban authorities (a terrorist organization banned on the territory of the Russian Federation). The Dialogue on Regional Security of Afghanistan, convened less than three months after the withdrawal of US and NATO forces from Kabul, was attended by representatives of India, Iran, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
Following multilateral consultations, Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Nikolai Patrushev said that according to estimates, more than two dozen terrorist structures are operating in Afghanistan, uniting more than 23 thousand militants. He noted that the meeting participants discussed the situation in Afghanistan, primarily in the field of security, its regional and global consequences. The main "sources of fuel" of terrorists remain the proceeds of drug trafficking, he said.
"We agreed on closer coordination of our states in the Afghan direction, primarily in the field of combating terrorism and extremism, illegal drug trafficking and uncontrolled migration," the Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation continued. The meeting participants stressed the importance of urgent humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people.
Sat down to talk
Meetings, conferences and negotiations on Afghanistan have recently been lacking. The participants are different, the organizers and the capitals where the meetings are held, too. But all the agendas of these diplomatic forums, as a rule, are not without the words "dialogue," "security," "settlement."
Less common language is "humanitarian disaster." Speaking at a meeting in India, Nikolai Patrushev recalled this, called on the United States, its allies to recognize responsibility for the collapse of the Afghan economy and social sphere, to stop the degradation of Afghanistan through its economic isolation.
Moscow recently hosted a meeting of the Moscow Platform on Afghanistan. As on purpose, the US special representative for Afghanistan did not arrive, on the eve of he was fired altogether, another was appointed. Everyone has their own interests and often multi-directional. The organizers of the conference in New Delhi, for example, were ready to confirm the importance of India even without participating in the event of the United States and China.
India has become an interested party in a four-party (anti-Chinese in essence) coalition led by the United States. Washington can trust her, Russia continues to trust her. But not far away is the day when Moscow and Delhi will share the sticker "democracy," which has already been prepared for India in Washington. A kind of order for merit to the West, which the pro-Western elite has long wanted to receive.
The memory of the omnipotence of London in the multinational and rich expanses of British India interfered. The memoirs of the "pearl" about its former place in the crown of the "lord of the seas" are extinguished, but the consequences of colonial politics make themselves felt. Before India achieved independence, British India was divided, separating Pakistan. Since 1947, India has been living in conditions of irreconcilable enmity with its neighbor.
The echoes of the "fateful" division of the country are still communicated to both. India, for example, was not invited to a meeting on Afghanistan, which was held in Moscow in March this year. The meeting was held in the format of the so-called expanded troika (Russia, the USA, China and Pakistan) and served as the cause of gossip in the Indian press. India was not invited to the meeting, which offended journalists and not only them.
Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation for Afghanistan, Director of the Second Department of Asia of the Russian Foreign Ministry Zamir Kabulov (he was at a conference in Delhi) then explained this. The Expanded Troika consists of representatives of countries that influence both sides of the conflict in Afghanistan, he said.
India in March of this year believed that power in Kabul can be preserved. And the United States was already preparing for evacuation, negotiating with the Taliban. For New Delhi, the return to power of the Taliban (a terrorist organization banned on the territory of the Russian Federation) meant an increase in Pakistan's influence in the region. And behind Islamabad is Beijing with its plans to build infrastructure in Asia. The "economic corridor" through Pakistan is already being completed, will soon provide Chinese exporters with access to the seas, which India and China are not ready to share.
In Washington and Tokyo they know this, they also do not want to share economic influence with China. For this reason, the Asia-Pacific region was hastily renamed Indo-Pacific.
All this is said to make it clear in what context Afghanistan's humanitarian problems are being addressed or at least discussed. And there are enough problems. Drought in the summer and pandemic in the fall, civil conflict and drug shortages, unemployment and the breakdown of familiar economic ties. And winter has already arrived. Winter temperatures depend on altitude and terrain. In places, the thermometer can drop to minus 200S.
A country is considered dependent on foreign aid if it accounts for more than 10% of GDP. According to the World Bank, by 2021, about 40% of Afghanistan's GDP was international aid. In particular, the World Bank has allocated more than $5.3 billion over the past 20 years to projects in Afghanistan.
The West effectively suspended this assistance, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund stopped funding. The Taliban administration (a terrorist organization banned on the territory of the Russian Federation) does not have access to foreign assets of the previous regime, which are located in London and New York.
Afghanistan is on the brink of civil conflict. Armed groups in the provinces of Parwan, Kapisa, Balkh and Badakhshan announced their accession to the National Resistance Front led by Ahmad Masood. They say that they are ready to fight the Taliban (a terrorist organization banned on the territory of the Russian Federation).
All this has hit Afghanistan over the past two months.
"At the same time, the United States and its allies, instead of recognizing responsibility for the collapse of the Afghan economy and social sphere, continue to contribute to the further degradation of the situation through the economic isolation of Afghanistan," Patrushev emphasized.
On the verge of hunger and cold
Afghanistan is actually on the verge of a humanitarian crisis, Patrushev noted, speaking at a conference in New Delhi. In fact, this is the worst humanitarian crisis, - agreed independently of Patrushev, American David Beasley, who heads the UN World Food Program. For millions in Afghanistan, humanitarian aid is the only way to survive in winter.
Thomas West, the US special representative for Afghanistan, also says that to stabilize the situation, Washington is ready to "interact with Russia, Iran, China, and the countries of Central Asia." He plans to pay a working visit to Moscow in the near future.
Meanwhile, food prices in Afghanistan are rising, salaries are not paid. Some Afghans, who were recently classified as middle class, sell property to buy food. Three international organizations directly related to food problems - IPC, FAO and WFP - said that about 23 million people are in difficult living conditions, critically malnourished.
Among them, more than 3 million children under the age of five years, one in three can die of hunger by the summer of next year. This is UNICEF data. With the onset of winter, inaccessible mountain areas will be cut off from the supply of food, medicines, clothing. Winter is already beginning and will last until March.
According to international experts, every second resident of Afghanistan can be classified as an extreme category of risk groups in terms of nutritional standards. Compared with surveys conducted in April, the situation deteriorated by 37%. For ten years of observations, experts say, these are the most alarming indicators.
The food situation looks like the most acute. More than 7 million people in rural areas of the country have experienced a second drought in four years and form a special risk category. Some will choose to leave their homes or starve to death. In this regard, food aid to Afghanistan is becoming quite different, extraordinary, and can be a decisive factor in the growth of migration.
Expensive and difficult
For two decades, India has been a significant participant in assistance programs for Afghanistan, allocated almost $3 billion for infrastructure development, helped create the Indira Gandhi Institute for Child Health, participated in the School Feeding Program, and hosted thousands of Afghan students and interns, officials and technicians. But in July she closed the consulates and embassy.
The only form of participation in Afghanistan's affairs remains humanitarian assistance, in particular the supply of grain. But for this, says New Delhi, it is necessary to provide a "corridor" for supplies. So far, Pakistan has not allowed the free transit of Indian humanitarian supplies through its territory. Dubai is suitable for opening the "aid corridor," but it is also expensive and difficult. A short road lies through Pakistan, but with UN intervention. Either expensive, or difficult, or all together.
And this applies not only to India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi confirmed at the G20 in October - it is urgent to ensure "unhindered access" to Afghans in need. At the Rome summit, India called for a collective response to the crisis. The Taliban, however, does not perceive as a partner. Moreover, there is an opinion that the Taliban use the crisis to gain recognition. Pakistan's shadow obscures the humanitarian needs of Afghans.
Russia as an intermediary donor
In November, special flights are organized to deliver humanitarian goods from Russia to Afghanistan and to export Russian citizens, Afghan citizens who have Russian citizenship. Russia supplies medicine and food to Afghanistan.
Moscow, according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, helps Western countries in contacts with the Taliban through the mediation of international organizations.
"Humanitarian assistance must be provided now. I see how Western countries begin to make appropriate contributions. The question is how to distribute this assistance, "he said. Russia is helping to negotiate with the authorities in Kabul to allow humanitarian organizations to deliver humanitarian supplies to the population.
The desire of Western donors to shift concerns to the Russian Foreign Ministry is easy to explain. Russia is one of the few countries that have kept the embassy in Kabul in working mode. Russia also has close relations with the countries of Central Asia, which are adjacent to Afghanistan and can be a base for the delivery of humanitarian supplies to Afghanistan.
Pentagon Side Losses
Patrushev called the threat to regional stability a sharp increase in the number of refugees from Afghanistan. It can be assumed, as evil languages say, that the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and refugees can destabilize the situation, compensating Washington and NATO for the political damage they suffered as a result of the hasty withdrawal of their forces from Kabul.
At a meeting in the Moscow format on Afghanistan, which was held without the participation of the US representative, the participants in the event proposed to convene a donor conference under the auspices of the UN, which would help accelerate the supply of humanitarian supplies, agree on their filling, and distribute roles.
In November, the UN Security Council should meet, consider, in particular, Afghanistan. So far, the UN Humanitarian Assistance Fund has at its disposal one third of the required $600 million. But it's not just a lack of money.
The Taliban (a terrorist organization banned on the territory of the Russian Federation) does not fit not only India, but also the countries of NATO and the European Union as an operator of humanitarian aid flows. For the contractual and almost "peaceful" evacuation of the Taliban (a terrorist organization banned in the Russian Federation), the United States was suitable, and they are not suitable for managing emergency humanitarian assistance. Washington believes that part of the "aid" can be used for purposes that pose a problem to their national security.
Jake Sullivan, who helps Biden with these very national security affairs, explained that "the best way to really help the people of Afghanistan" will be one that will not create problems for Washington. While three million children under the age of five can, according to Pentagon standards, be classified as "side losses," as was the case with an American missile that killed a family in Kabul "by misunderstanding."