Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, August 15th, 2020

Rise of Poverty and its Dark Prospective in Afghanistan

Beside multiple social and political issues, poverty is one of the top chronic problems which increasingly give birth to a large series of other social and political problems in the country. According to a recent report quoted from the Ministry of Economy, more than 55 percent of Afghan people live under poverty line. Similarly, the other institutions’ reports indicate that the situation of poverty has not only declined in 2019 but also shows a slight increase. For example, based on the Asian Development Bank’s report the level of poverty was 54% in 2018 but it has slightly increased in the current year. However, the differences are largely linked to the decrease of international aid. Any-why, beside natural disasters, insecurity, migration, violence and addiction, Afghanistan is faced with increasing poverty challenge. This issue seems more serious when it is deemed as a root factor for many social and political disorders while there is no clear fighting strategy.
The World Bank criteria for poverty identification show that 54 percent of Afghans earn less than $ 1.9 a day. Based on global standard, if the people cannot earn 1.9$ on a daily basis, they are in a fragile poverty condition. In such a condition, people are not able to access safe food and safe shelter. In addition, this castigatory of people are more vulnerable against natural and social disasters and so they are seriously at risk. The recent reports indicate that more than 50 people have died in the latest snowfall and raining. The victims are normally those poor people who have neither safe shelter nor able to seek personal solutions, that’s why they lose lives after collapse of their shaky houses.
Though Afghanistan has enjoyed billions of financial support from international community in last two decades, but with decrease of international financial support in recent years the level of poverty has also increased. In last 19 years, we could not properly use the opportunities to build economic infrastructure that’s why the people are at critical condition now. When people look at the statistics of the international community’s aid and then compare it with the growing problems of the Afghan society, they would have a question, “Where did go all this money “?  Giving a clear response to this question is not easy. The only thing that unanimously can explain this situation is corruption. The corruption does not have one face but it has several faces and dimensions which altogether wasted resources and produced the current situation.Undoubtedly, if it had been spent in a right way, Afghan people would have a better life today.
As aforementioned, the new poverty reports have only focused on challenges which come from monetary income of Afghan people. It shows that from every 100 people, 55 of them are not able to earn 1.9$ per a single day. In addition to this, there are other chronic problems such as lacking access to safe food while it undermined the life of people in past and probably will challenge the government in the future. According to recent statistics released, 42 percent of Afghanistan’s population will not have food security in the coming year. Similarly, a large of number of Afghanistan’s population will also suffer from other types of poverty. For example, about 52 percent of Afghans are also in fragile conditions in terms of accessing to public services such as education and health. Although public services such as education and health services are defined free in Afghanistan, many people still do not have access to these services.
Moreover, the migration crisis and the issue of IDPs have increased due to growing wars and insecurity in the country. Afghanistan is one the source countries that has produced millions of refugees around the world. About 355,000 people have been displaced due to insecurity and violent clashes with the Taliban; these people are in urgent need of basic facilities, specifically they need food and shelter. Notwithstanding all these problems, it does not seem that phenomena of poverty are easily reduced or eradicated In Afghanistan. In terms of poverty status, Afghanistan ranks as first position in regional level while in terms of corruption, war, drug cultivation and production and also drug trafficking it ranks first as global level.  
Although Afghanistan is the only country in the region that enjoyed unequivocal international support, the situation of poverty and social welfare are worrisome.  In the past years, Afghanistan received billions of Dollars with the heavy presence of foreign forces and their institutions. Now, after 19 years, the Afghan institutions are not able to count their population let alone to benefit all population through implementation of large programs in field of poverty reduction, state building, social justice and so on. Still it is unclear in Afghanistan that how many men and women, children and young and old people live in this country, let alone to implement strategic programs in the field of economy, literacy, health, and population control. Given the current challenges, moving towards a welfare and prosperous society seems almost impossible as there is neither a clear prospect nor program for the future.  The way out of this situation requires a detailed scientific work, but the very basic suggestion is that poverty issues or economic challenges must not be overridden by the day-today- political agendas. 19 years ago, if we had had a clear poverty reduction strategy, today would have a different condition. The current condition is not because of not having fiscal and human resources, but these challenges are because of lack of practical strategy. As we missed many opportunities in the past two decades, it will be repeated in the future, unless we put it on the top national priorities.