As we draw close to one year since the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, the harrowing scenes of the evacuation from Kabul are a more distant memory, and the images of war in Ukraine have taken over many of the headlines. However Afghanistan continues to suffer from a deepening humanitarian crisis and the concern is that the world's attention, which was fully focused on Afghanistan in 2021, will not be similarly engaged as we move towards another winter in Afghanistan - one which promises to be even more challenging than the last.

At Afghanaid, with the help of nearly £2m of funds so generously donated by our supporters, we have been working exceptionally hard to deliver life saving humanitarian support to over 1 million people. This effort was mobilised in late 2021 and has continued throughout this year and, with the right funding, will continue through the coming winter. Rural communities are battling both the effects of economic collapse precipitated by international sanctions and a continuing drought, meaning that crops have largely failed except on the irrigated lands.  Throughout last winter, farmers borrowed money and extended family and community networks supported each other. These coping mechanisms are now stretched to breaking point in addition to which, as a result of the war in Ukraine, food and fertiliser prices have risen dramatically and so the prospects of famine and starvation this coming winter are very real.

This is why the support we are providing, with your help, is literally life saving. You can see this in some of the personal stories shown on this website.

The recent earthquake, which caused significant loss of life to people and livestock, did briefly re-ignite the debate on sanctions and long term development aid. This was perhaps the one positive impact of an otherwise truly tragic event. The reality of life in Afghanistan is that international financial sanctions and the removal of the majority of development support has caused the economy to shrink by at least 30%. Many families have no regular source of income and the banking system is not functioning. It is essential that western governments recognise that sanctions will not change the behaviour of the Taliban government and that the continuation of sanctions really only penalises the people of Afghanistan. As Afghanaid we are arguing strongly for a resumption of the sort of longer term development programmes which have been the mainstay of our work for so many years. The good news is that we are starting to see some movement in this direction from governmental and multilateral donors.

My recent visit to Afghanistan brought home very starkly that, whilst the security situation has improved greatly and the worst fears of starvation last winter were averted, the Afghan people are facing a long term economic and humanitarian crisis. Human rights and particularly those of women continue to be under great pressure. It is humbling to hear first hand the fears of our female staff members, who, with reason, feel that their future has been taken away in a country where, as one staff member put it to me, “women have no rights”. There is no sign that the public restrictions placed on female education, employment and basic movement are being eased - in fact the reverse.

At the beginning of July we launched our UK Aid Match campaign By Her Side, which aims to channel support directly to women in rural Afghanistan, recognising them as key drivers of positive change. Our campaign is raising funds to support Afghan women to feed their families, increase the availability of nutritious food in their communities, earn an income and gain respect.

All funds donated through By Her Side before 30th September will be matched pound for pound by the UK Government and so this is a fabulous opportunity to make a really big impact. Your support both moral and financial continues to be so important. Please give what you can today and your donation will be doubled:

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