The Taliban regime does not seem able to manage the emergency caused by the earthquake

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The magnitude 6 earthquake that struck Tuesday evening in the eastern Afghan province of Paktika was one of the most serious in recent decades in Afghanistan. More than a thousand people have died and others are still missing, but the relief operations that would be needed are slowed by the lack of resources, aid and a prepared government. The country had already been impoverished for years by the pandemic, drought and a long war, but since the Taliban took power last August, a very serious economic and humanitarian crisis is underway, caused by international sanctions and poor management of power .

To organize relief efforts after the earthquake, the Taliban regime asked for international help: in cases like this, the intervention of other countries is motivated by the humanitarian emergency and therefore does not violate the sanctions imposed to limit the country’s economic development. The United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the NGOs that were already operating in Afghanistan are gearing up to intervene, but with many difficulties due to the scarcity of resources of various kinds.

For the moment, the Italian NGO Emergency and the International Rescue Committee (the most present) have intervened in the affected areas with ambulances, facilities and medical personnel, and the International Red Cross with blankets, tents and other basic necessities. One of the main limitations for relief efforts at the moment is the lack of planes and helicopters to intervene in the most devastated and difficult to access areas, where many of the people who are missing could still be found.

In general, the intervention of international humanitarian organizations in Afghanistan has not been easy in the last year and those present on the territory have remained few: the risk of bringing aid to the country, in fact, is that resources and money are intercepted by the regime.

The Paktika area, which is located in the east of the country, on the border with Pakistan, has always been one of the most remote, disconnected and difficult to reach from international aid: before the Taliban took power it was a fighting area, and after it is even more impoverished. Houses in this province are unstable and built on slopes that are often subject to landslides, which made the effects of the earthquake even more disastrous.

In Afghanistan, a large part of the population lives in absolute poverty. The economy has been paralyzed since banking transactions have been severely limited by international sanctions and in the last year the Taliban in power have proved unprepared to govern the country: corruption is very high and the technicians who worked in the institutions have been replaced by Taliban or religious figures, effectively immobilizing the Afghan government.

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