While the war in Ukraine is likely to affect Afghanistan, a country dependent on wheat, especially from Russia and Ukraine, the Afghan population is already suffering from a “significant” decline in the quantity and quality of food consumed, both in towns and cities. rural areas. And this is since the Taliban came to power in August 2021. This is evidenced by a World Bank survey published on Tuesday, March 15, conducted by phone between October and December 2021, to which nearly 5,000 Afghan households responded.
Thus, 70% of the households surveyed stated that they are unable to meet their basic needs for food and non-food items, i.e. twice as many as during the previous survey in May 2021.
“Afghans can still find jobs and access some key government services,” corn “The situation is rather fragile” says the World Bank. And add: “A rapid and dramatic decline in well-being and access to services could occur unless wages for at least basic services can be restored and food security improved.”
The World Bank has been warning for months about the dire living conditions of Afghans since the Taliban took power seven months ago. It has frozen direct aid programs but is using the Special Afghanistan Reconstruction Fund (ARTF) to deliver humanitarian aid through UN agencies and international NGOs.
In addition, more Afghans than a year and a half ago are looking for work in both urban and rural areas. The number of available vacancies increased in rural areas, but decreased in cities and on the outskirts. In urban areas, the unemployment rate is also rising.
The share of public sector jobs declined due to job cuts in the security services and civil service, but a higher proportion of households reported being self-employed.
Workers in all sectors and regions of the country have in any case reported a significant drop in income, consistent with reports of wage arrears.
More kids in school, including little girls
In terms of children, more young Afghans are enrolled in school, even if the proportion of girls in school remains lower than that of boys. Nevertheless, “The proportion of households sending their daughters to school in October-December 2021 was 54% compared to 44% in the school year leading up to the October-December 2019 national survey,” notes the World Bank.
“More girls go to school at the primary level” with lifting “concentrated in rural areas, where base attendance rates were lower in 2019, likely due to high levels of insecurity.” This figure remains at around 53% in urban areas.
But girls drop out of school earlier than in the previous survey, as “the proportion of households sending their daughters to primary and secondary school has decreased.”
Four times as many candidates for expulsion
In Zaranj, a city in southwestern Afghanistan bordering Iran, the flow of candidates for exile reaches 5,000 to 6,000 daily, about four times the level before the Taliban returned to power in August, according to several experienced smugglers. Most are willing to take any risk to avoid the collapse of the Afghan economy, caused by the freezing of billions of assets held abroad and the sudden cessation of international assistance that has kept the country at arm’s length for 20 years, which is slowly starting to come back.
Figures disputed by the Taliban. “The claim that 6,000 Afghans are leaving the country across a single border in one day is propaganda,” he said. said Mohammad Arsala Harutai, deputy minister for refugees and repatriation. “So many Afghans are not leaving” as well as “no one can name the exact number,” he told AFP during a press conference in Kabul in mid-March.
According to a recent report by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), around 990,000 Afghans left their region of origin between August and December 2021 in an attempt to flee, mainly to Iran and Pakistan.