ASIA/AFGHANISTAN – Without aid from abroad, the social situation can degenerate into civil conflict and humanitarian disaster

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Herat – The re-opening of schools in Herat to girls from the 7th to 12th year of studies could be a move by the Taliban to show “a more human face” of the regime, in order to obtain aid from the West. Luca Lo Presti, president of the Pangea Onlus Foundation, who has been involved in development and promotion of women in Afghanistan for 18 years, explains this to Fides: “The Country is collapsing – warns Lo Presti – and is preparing to experience an unprecedented humanitarian crisis: child malnutrition is expected to grow to 97% by next year. Without aid from abroad, the situation could escalate into civil wars and humanitarian disasters, a disastrous scenario. Giving signals of great media coverage, such as the news that the school for girls reopens in Herat, could give impetus to the current of thought according to which moderate Taliban exist”.
Before long, Lo Presti recalls, UN agencies will manage several billion dollars allocated for the special G20 on Afghanistan. This aid is tempting for the Taliban: “By allowing some openness, public opinion might think that the Taliban can choose a moderate path. However, the persistent rumors of indiscriminate killings are of great concern”.
The Pangea association has been present in Afghanistan since 2003 and has launched numerous projects for women’s emancipation. After the takeover of the country by the Taliban movement, women, activists and minorities appear to be particularly at risk. In recent months, Pangea has launched an appeal and a fundraiser to be able to continue to carry out projects in Afghan territory, despite the crisis situation.
“The situation in Afghanistan is very serious for those who in past years have exposed themselves to projects and initiatives in favor of civil society; it is even more serious for our collaborators and who for twenty years have fought for the emancipation and promotion of women. Being in danger of life, we managed to hide or expatriate some of the women, but now families are paying for them: we have heard of reprisals and kidnappings in the homes of relatives”, Lo Presti notes.
“All the women’s businesses we have created have given families self-esteem and economic well-being; and this same economy brings emancipation and cultural and social growth. All this must be supported by a series of activities such as schooling, training for work and human rights, health hygiene, clinics, kindergartens, a school for deaf-mute girls, even schools and sports associations”, he concludes.