UN, aid groups offer vital assistance to thousands of Kunduz families

By Muhammad Qasem

United Nations (UN) agencies and the Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS) have provided cash, food aid and work opportunities to thousands of vulnerable Afghan families that were facing starvation after the fall of the previous government in August. [Haseeb Hasas]

KUNDUZ -- United Nations (UN) agencies alongside other aid groups in recent months have provided humanitarian assistance to more than 4,000 vulnerable and impoverished families in Kunduz province.

The UN organisations involved include the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the World Food Programme (WFP).

CONCERN Worldwide, The Hague-based Cordaid, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), the Paris-based Agency for Technical Co-operation and Development (ACTED) and the Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS) have also provided aid.

"A survey conducted by CONCERN in Kunduz in December identified around 10,000 vulnerable families in the provincial centre and districts of Kunduz. We support these families based on a plan," said Mohammad Nader Fayez, the director of CONCERN in Kunduz province.

A number of Kunduz residents receive aid packages from the Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS) on January 31 in Kunduz city. [Haseeb Hasas]

A number of Kunduz residents receive aid packages from the Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS) on January 31 in Kunduz city. [Haseeb Hasas]

CONCERN, with support from the United Kingdom, distributed cash and food assistance to more than 1,500 families in the provincial capital and Aqtash district, he said.

"We gave each family 19,000 AFN in cash assistance and food items including flour, oil, sugar and rice," he said. "We will cover other families in the next phase."

"Given the economic shock experienced by the public, this assistance is insufficient," Fayez said. "All aid agencies should do their part and try to address citizens' needs."

UNHCR also distributed cash to more than 1,000 families in December and January and the process is ongoing, said Abdul Bashir Mohammadi, the UN's co-ordinator for humanitarian assistance in Kunduz.

"Each family affected by conflict and recent events in the country was given the equivalent of $500 and some kitchen utensils," he said.

The objective of the cash assistance is to save the lives of war-affected families in the winter. Only families whose houses were destroyed in the war or were displaced by the war received this assistance, Mohammadi said.

"War and insecurity have badly affected our people, unfortunately," he said. "Had they not received the assistance, some families would have lost their children to the cold."

The UN will not abandon the people of Afghanistan in this difficult situation and will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to needy families, he said.

Relief from poverty and hunger

Meanwhile, the ARCS distributed food and non-food items among 800 needy families with the support of the Saudi government on January 31.

The number of families who received assistance from aid agencies since November has reached 4,000, according to ARCS officials.

Of the 800 families that received the assistance, 400 are in the provincial centre, while 400 others are in Khanabad district, said Ataullah Nikzad, ARCS spokesperson in Kunduz province.

"The assistance included flour, oil, rice, chickpeas, sugar, winter clothes, and kitchen utensils, which was distributed to families according to a survey conducted earlier," he said.

"There were families ... who had nothing to eat or struggled to find three meals a day," he added.

"I received six bags of flour, two blankets, and four packages of household items from the ARCS," said Bibi Hawa, 37, a resident of the Se Darak area of Kunduz city and a mother of six.

"My husband was killed in the war in July," she said. "He went to the city in search of a job, and he never found a job or made it back home."

Agha Mohammad Ghafouri, a worker in Kunduz city, said he could not find any work in the past five months and was facing extreme hunger and poverty.

"I have eight children and am the only breadwinner of my family," he said. "When I go to the city's designated area for daily labourers in search of work, no one hires me."

"When I feel too much pressure due to poverty, I want to commit suicide, but again I give up, wondering what will happen to my wife and children," he said.

"I went to every organisation I could find, saying that my children would starve to death," he said. "God was great, and today, fortunately, I received six bags of flour, and a few other items of assistance."

Humanitarian challenges

Economic problems, including unemployment, faced by Afghan families have risen to an unprecedented level since the fall of the previous government last August.

More than 22 million Afghans, meaning more than half the population, will suffer food insecurity this winter, the UN has said.

Most families cannot provide even one meal a day, and winter weather has increased concerns.

"I was able to address some of my family's winter needs, thanks to this aid," said Sayed Mohammad Alawi, 35, a resident of Kunduz city.

"I had to displace my family to Kabul in July. When we returned home after three months, nothing was left in the house," he said.

"My house was looted, and that left me with economic challenges," he said. "This assistance will address some of our problems."

"Poverty and hunger on the one hand and unemployment on the other have left us vulnerable," Alawi said.

He said he recently received 18,000 AFN and six types of food items and clothing in assistance.

"I couldn't do any farming because of the recent events in the country, and my economic situation is unfortunately very bad," said Ghulam Siddiq Nasrati, a resident of Khanabad district of Kunduz.

"Aid agencies fortunately provided me with assistance -- both in December and January," he said. "The aid helped me survive."

"I received the equivalent of $200, three blankets, two bags of flour and clothes for children in assistance from the IOM," he said.

"I want them to continue the aid in the future, too."

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16. The executive, the legislature, and the judiciary in the United States are triangular. The US court should not come under as much political pressure of the executive force as to take revenge of the US government's political defeat from the ordinary Afghans under the pretext of the former government. It should be clear for them, as you say, that the Taliban cannot represent the Afghan people politically. Why should you refer to the authority of the Afghan peoples' assets that they have gained during a long time with much difficulties to them? If the court wants to take revenge on the Taliban, they may pull their government to the court and ask why they made a peace agreement with a group in Doha who already had a case with the US court and were accused of killing Americans? Did the American court not know that the expenses of the Taliban office in Qatar were paid directly by the government of America and indirectly by their partner Qatar. When someone pays the expenses of one's political office, they may better accept the compensation of their former and coming political actions. Tomorrow, the court may say that America used this much money on the Taliban office in Qatar, and it should be paid from the Afghan peoples' national reserves. Is it a logical and just discussion?


14. The Afghan people hope that the United States, their special court, and the World Bank first determine the exact amount of all the assets of Afghanistan that have been frozen or secured with them. Secondly, it should determine the amount used as bullion backing the afghani currency and it should be kept safe and not used anywhere else. The third point is the money of Afghanistan which is put in the US banks, and Afghanistan used to get an amount every year from its circulation. The fourth point is the amount of the International community's aid that is currently frozen. 15. The new government's officials can only discuss the benefits of the currency circulation with the United States or the international community. No government, particularly governments that face many obstacles to their continuation and legitimacy, has the right to access afghani banknotes' underlying bullion. The new government can discuss the reactivation and reconnection of Afghanistan's banking system with America and other countries of the world, not only to talk about the money collected in the past twenty years.


A given amount of money earns Afghanistan three hundred and four hundred million dollars a year through their circulation, which can be spent either on backing the afghani currency or on health and education. In addition, there is a large amount of money set aside by the International Community for development projects in Afghanistan, which must be released. The new officials should be told that this approximately $10 billion is the result of the little efforts made by the government during the last twenty years that have been gained for the nation, and this is the bullion backing the approximately 300 billion AFN that is currently in circulation. Da Afghanistan Bank has written on each banknote that they promise the certificate holder to pay AFN at the time of demand. When Da Afghanistan Bank does not have this gold and foreign currency reserve, then by what evidence do they guarantee that? This type of banknote, which has no backing, is just a piece of paper. Another thing is that what does it mean to love the money collected during the previous government but express hatred toward its men? The fact is that this money is not the private property of the previous government, nor the present nor the upcoming. It is the nation's property and must be kept safe for the country.


13. The new officials here in Kabul think that if this $10 billion is released, they will pay their employees' salaries. They will spend it on the military and cover their budget deficit. That is why they are making hot propaganda, hiding the lack of a systematic economic plan on the pretext that America stopped the money; otherwise, everything was going on well. The fact is that a large portion of this money is the bullion backing the afghani banknotes. If this money were to go out of its way and be used elsewhere, afghani banknotes would be blown away, and inflation would rise sharply. Several circles in Dr. Ghani's government tried to use the money for military and political purposes, but they were not able to gain much access to it. The new government should also not be allowed to use the bullion for other purposes.


11. Who was Osama? Whose son was he? Which ethnic group did he belong to? Did he have an ancestry, or was he born and raised here in Afghanistan? It is well-known that the Laden family is one of the five or six prominent families in Saudi Arabia. They have plenty of assets and construction companies in Saudi Arabia. They have tens of billions of assets. A dozen of his sons live a luxurious life in England, France, and other Western countries at his father's expense. A US court has not ruled on a ransom for his assets, but they brought the burden to the shoulders of the Afghan nation. 12. Osama bin Laden was a citizen of Saudi Arabia, and some of his family members still live there. His capital is also stored there. So why not reach out to the real caregivers and educators as you are grasping the neck of the oppressed nation? The Saudis now have more than $400 billion in US banks. Much should be done for the Afghan people, as they have been victims of their unique and unjust games. Their geography has also been used as a battlefield.


10. Afghanistan was invaded on the pretext of Osama's presence. Afghan villages and homes were bombed, but Osama appeared in Abbottabad, Pakistan, a few years later. He was killed as quickly as Barack Obama wrote in his book, "Sometimes even the most ordinary things are very important, but people forget about it at work. When the American soldiers were operating against Osama bin Laden, they knew his height. They found a soldier of the same height and told him that once Osama is killed, he can go and lie down beside him to find out whether the height is correct." Barack Obama adds, "the soldiers did not think that they should carry a yardstick instead of a man to measure his height. When Osama was killed, they immediately put that soldier with Osama to ensure he has the same height." The big powers have such thoughts, now they have taken the Afghan people under the guise of the Taliban, and they say that, why do you give shelter to Osama? But they did not say anything to those from whose country he was recovered. Suppose there was justice in the US judiciary. In that case, they should have held the Pakistani government responsible, froze all their assets, and if it did not have the money, they should have taken the nuclear bomb from them as collateral. Strange logic! Osama came out of Pakistan, but they used the mother of all bombs on Afghanistan!


8. Americans and other internationals considered the Taliban a terrorist group, and some still consider them terrorists. If so, why are these assets referred to the Taliban? Is there any provision in the US Court of Law that allows terrorists to deposit their money in US banks to make a profit on them? It is in circulation even for 20 years, for a country and for geography that is recognized by a hundred countries of the world and the United Nations, they print money for them, but they are not a government, they are a group, twenty years later a court comes and says that we will return this money from you for a crime you have committed twenty years before, at a time as the court cannot prove which time this money belongs to? 9. If the Taliban has as much power as they have made $8.5 billion in the central bank during their five years' governance, then they are the children of a monster compared to that of the fifty countries, including America, which did not make even a penny during their twenty years' long governance, while the Taliban made it in five years. Hence the nation would say that we need such a useful government!?


5. The matter has not been referred to any international court other than a US court, and no one has commented on it. Neither the claimant has claimed nor the prosecutor has filed a lawsuit, nor has the defendant has been asked for an explanation. There is only a government, a court, and there is no plaintiff, there is no defendant, there is no case and no details. 6. As we said before, the country's total annual budget under the government of the Taliban was about $51 million. Neither there was any saving in the Central Bank, nor bullion. In fact, at that time, the government was not printing the currency at all; therefore, they did not need any bullion. The $8.5 billion assets came to existence as a result of the strenuous efforts of the nation following the collapse of their government during the last twenty years that includes the total value of the gold and another valuable forex, so the assets belong to the nation, the Taliban are not involved in making it at all, while now the nation is forced to pay for the actions of the Taliban. 7. The strange thing is that neither any country in the world recognizes the government of the Taliban, nor do they consider them as representatives of the Afghan nation; however, they consider it as the owner of the nation's assets. The treasury belongs to the nation, the government takes care of it, and the Central Bank saves it. When they do not recognize the government and the Central Bank, nor do they consider them as representatives of


2. Osama bin Laden and his associates were brought to Afghanistan by jihadist groups, later used as American militias. They [mujahideen] wielded power and blessings during the 20-year-long American military presence. Instead of holding the Taliban responsible, whom Osama bin Laden inherited from past jihadist groups, America should have held the jihadist groups responsible at that time. 3. When the Taliban first reached power, there were only 150 afghani banknotes left in the treasury of Da Afghanistan Bank, which at the time were devalued due to high inflation. A Russian company was printing banknotes for Rabbani-Massoud. A British company was printing it for General Dostum ... During the Taliban era, the annual budget of the whole country was about $51 million ... Except for three countries, the government was not diplomatically recognized nor did it have its own currency. 4. If the Americans had raised the issue of compensation, they would have done so during the previous regime. At least, they could share the issue with the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan, who recognized the Taliban's government and were regional allies of Americans, and Osama bin Laden himself had relations with them. They had to tell them that we wanted compensation from these people.


Shortly after leaving Afghanistan, rumors circulated that a US court had ruled that part of the money would go to the families of the nearly 4,000 victims of the 9/11 attacks. If this decision is implemented, the burden of economic oppression on Afghans will further be increased. The US government will continue to commit other humanitarian and financial crimes against the oppressed Afghan people due to past political and war crimes and mistakes in Afghanistan. Here we would like to make a few remarks about the responsibility and obligations of the parties involved in the opinion and decision of the US government and then the court: The basis of the decision depends on the idea that Osama bin Laden and his associates attacked the United States. The Taliban government gave them asylum and used this place against the United States, so they were blamed and had to pay the price. It has to be said that: 2. Osama bin Laden and the Arab fighters themselves were the products of the significant American policies. They made them fight against the Russian forces during the war between the two. The Afghan people suffered heavy losses.


The United States of America is one of the largest countries in the world, with an area of ​​9.834 million square kilometers and a population of 329.5 million, consuming about 25% of the world's energy, and has about 40% of the world's gold. It is said to control almost 33% of the world's economy, with an annual monetary (GDP) of $21.5 trillion. From 2015 up to 2020, the circulation of all of the Afghan money was only $20 billion. If the current situation is considered, our country's entire annual circulation may have decreased to $10 billion, meaning that their annual monetary circulation in America is around two thousand times more than in Afghanistan. This size of the economy and this advancement of technology does not mean that they will be superior to the Afghans in the social sphere and the provision of justice. Instead, the right in this area is in the hands of the Afghans. When the Taliban regained Afghanistan last August, the US government froze all of Afghanistan's assets approximately ($8.5 billion).


Many thanks to this organization and those who support the people, but these aids are not enough because such assistance is minor, and they are among the poorest people in their area. Other agencies should also work and reach out to solve people's problems. But more important, Afghans cannot rely on humanitarian aid. To solve this problem on a sustainable basis, it is essential to start in-house development programs that will help. This will help the people get a livelihood, but this way, part of the country will be built. For a seller, if large and small water control dams are built together, not only will he be able to earn money easily as a family, he will also be able to use the water in the dams to irrigate, and whenever the land is irrigated, he will be able to work regularly. Others will come and buy the products, take them to the market, and sell them, benefiting many others. And when these dams are used for producing electricity, it will light the houses and create income for the government treasury. The government will be able to start work opportunities for other people.