The Taliban returned to power a hundred days ago. Since then, human rights and economic conditions have deteriorated. Caritas is watching this with great concern, says the head of the Afghanistan office.
Head of Afghanistan Office at Caritas International
Rieker lived in Kabul until August 2021. When the Taliban returned to power, he was forced to leave the country. He currently lives in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan.
SRF News: According to International Monetary Fund estimates, the Afghan economy will shrink by up to 30 percent this year. After the Taliban came to power, a large part of the Afghan currency reserves abroad were frozen. What is the impact of this economic crisis on the humanitarian situation?
Stefan Reeker: People are doing poorly. I’ve heard reports that families are really selling children to keep the rest of the family on their feet. Afghanistan has long been a net recipient of foreign aid and remittances, at least in the past few decades. The country is now isolated from it. As an aid organization, we also find it difficult to get funds in Afghanistan.
Human rights in Afghanistan have been less respected since its capture. How do you see it from Tajikistan?
I don’t know anything more about these human rights issues than one knows from the press. But what I do know: Our employees are currently working from home.
The Taliban leadership may send good news about women’s rights. But what exactly Taliban foot soldiers are doing on the streets is another matter.
You don’t want to go to the office and you can’t go to it because the situation is very unclear. The Taliban leadership may send good news in this regard. But what exactly Taliban foot soldiers are doing on the streets is another matter. Our colleagues are afraid to take to the streets.
A large part of the country is also suffering from severe drought. Thousands of Afghans want to leave the country. How difficult is it to leave the country?
It is difficult to leave the country. We would like to relocate almost all of our Afghan employees to Germany or Europe.
One has to assume that all people who have anything to do with Western services want to get out of the country.
Some of them are already in Germany, others are in neighboring countries. One has to assume that all people who have anything to do with Western services want to get out of the country. They are not necessarily specifically at risk. But they see no future for themselves and their children. The women who fought for their rights in particular have no prospects in Afghanistan.
What are the specific difficulties that aid organizations face in Afghanistan?
As mentioned, the biggest difficulty is bank liquidity. We try to make money in other ways, but we can’t do it illegally. I don’t feel arrested anywhere on a trip abroad for breaching any sanctions.
We had a Taliban visit in our offices. You have threatened and slandered and slandered our employees.
In addition, as mentioned, a woman can only do poorly. But men are also afraid. We had visits from the Taliban to our office. You have threatened and slandered and slandered our employees. These are completely uncontrollable situations. Another major difficulty is that we will have to completely rebuild the office when our colleagues leave for Germany.
Are there any signs that the situation in Afghanistan may improve again?
Currently not. The good news is that the EU or various EU countries want to reopen embassies or at least representations in Afghanistan. There is an attempt to ease the sanctions. But other than that, I don’t see any improvement in the overall economy of Afghanistan at the moment.
Interviewed by Zoe Gesler.
SRF News 4, 10.12.2019 2021; 6:20 p.m.; ; srf / lin; widb
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