The report estimates that 34 million Afghans are already living in poverty, up from 19 million in 2020 a 15 million rise. According to the research, the Taliban’s takeover the year after and the rapid loss of Western aid and financial access were largely to blame.
When nations refused to negotiate with the Taliban in 2021, numerous aid programs were reduced, causing an economic crisis.
The report’s executive summary states that “the cutoff in foreign assistance, which previously accounted for almost 70% of the nation’s budget, has resulted in a significant squeeze on public finances.”
The central bank has been unable to supply adequate liquidity to banks because of the inability to print money and the freeze on its foreign assets held by western banks.
The report, which was released on Tuesday in Kabul by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), details how Afghanistan’s economic output collapsed by 20.7 percent, following the Taliban takeover in 2021.
At least 85 percent of Afghanistan is projected to be in poverty, as there is an estimated population of 40 million. The UN aid appeal for international assistance to reach $4.6bn in 2023 is the minimum that is required to help Afghans in need.
Any reduction in international aid will worsen the economic situation of Afghanistan and would result in extreme poverty that would perpetuate for decades, the report said.
“If foreign aid is reduced this year, Afghanistan may fall from the cliff edge into the abyss,” the UNDP resident representative in Afghanistan, Abdallah al-Dardari, said.
In order to survive, Afghans have been selling their homes, lands and assets to generate income. Some people have turned their children into labourers and their daughters into child brides, the report says.
According to the report, the funding requirements today for Afghans to maintain their expenditures may have reached $5.3bn from the $900m needed two years ago.