Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, February 24th, 2019

Poverty: The Paralyzing phenomenon in Afghanistan


Poverty: The Paralyzing phenomenon in Afghanistan

Beside various social and political disorders, poverty is one ofthe most paralyzing crisis which has severely impacted our nation. Afghan nation had warmly welcomed the international community expecting to end the long-lasting crises but their dreams have never come true.After 17-years wasting of economic and political opportunities, Afghanistan still ranks as one of the poorest, the most insecure, the most uneducated and the most corrupt country in the world. With the passage of everyday, the situation is exacerbating by staggering levels of acute malnutrition and unprecedented levels of unemployment. Over fifty percent of the Afghans are living below the poverty line with no well access to basic amenities such as food, clean water, shelter and educational services. The depth of this crisis can be measured by gauging the level of public dissatisfaction expressed through successive social outcries.Based on media broadcasts, it can be realized that 90% people are extremely tired of current autocratic policies but there are no concernsabout people’s dissatisfaction as long as the lords are satisfied.
Widespread poverty forces many families to prevent their children from going school and educational centers. Recently, a study had released by the Ministry of Education and the U.N. children’s agency, said that 3.7 million, or 44 percent, of all school-age children are not attending school. It marks the first time since the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 that the rate of attendance has declined, following years of steady gains in education for boys as well as girls, who were banned from attending school under the Taliban. The survey says girls account for 60 percent of those being denied an education.
The war is the main contributing factor to poverty and it prevents children from schools and driving the nation towards a poor and weak generation in the future; it is said that 55 to 75 percent of the Afghan population is living under poverty line, whereas the drought-hit regions might be in the higher poverty rates. According to Center for Strategic and Regional Studies, the poverty rate in Afghanistan has remained stagnant since the outbreak of war in 2001, even with increases in foreign aid. Only 28 percent of the entire Afghan population 15 years and older is literate. Because of the lack of water and other necessities, Afghanistan has the highest infant mortality in the world. Thousands of Afghan families are taking refuge in unclean makeshift camps; Unemployment is a significant challenge in relocating these and other internally displaced people, as they are reluctant to return to rural areas where there are no jobs available.
Drought is a newly threatening emerged factor which has intensified the poverty throughout country; almost two thirds of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces have been hit by a lack of rain or snowfall since late last year, according to several reports released recently. Some rivers and water points have totally dried up, and the last wheat harvest has been “completely lost”, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization. “Six months down the road, millions of people could be in a situation of untenable hunger without knowing where their next meal will come from,” said Toby Lanzer, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Afghanistan. Already, the drought has forced 21,000 people to leave their homes and settle on the outskirts of the western city of Herat, said OCHA.
Legally, the selected economic system of Afghanistan is stipulated in the constitution as market economy system but over the past 17 years, and at present, no functional system practically exists, and the country’s economic affairs are confronted with absolute anarchism and political chaos. the mafia groups have domination on the market and they use speculation and monopoly of goods. In fact, these groups are mercilessly sucking people’s blood and pricing as they wish.
With dramatic decrease in value of Afghan currency, the basic goods needed by the people in the market has climbedsharply while the central bank is not able to do anything as a policymaker and responsible for the stability of Afghan currency, except direct intervention by pumping dollars to maintain its value. Whereas, the currency policy is economic policy which affect the supply and demand of currencies, and in particular the exchange rate of domestic currency against foreign currencies. their countries, never allow to use direct-policy (Direction Action) using the Auction tool, but unfortunately the central bank has relied on this policy unreasonably.
Overall, poverty has caused many disastrous consequences such as spread of armed violence, huge increase in addiction, domestic migration, increasing the population of cities, brain drains and the vacancy of the countryside.More importantly, poverty and unemployment fuels war in the country as the terrorist groups can easily hire unemployed teens to use as suicide attackers, battle forces, or laborers for implanting Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) and in some provinces unemployment has also led people to grow opium, poppy, and others are encouraged to join the extremist groups.
In conclusion, the importance of economy in Afghanistan should not override by political games elsewise Afghanistan may face irrepressible uprising against current crisis. However, the way out of this situation is a detailed discussion of the work, but what is very important is the existence of economic self-sufficiency at the strategic level of Afghanistan. It is important for Afghan policymakers to go further from artificial and expeditious stage. The history taught us that myopia policy does not rescue this nation. for immediate consideration, there is need for an extra measure to ensure safe environment for investors and industrialists in the country.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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