The massive earthquake that officials say killed more than 1,000 people in southeastern Afghanistan early Wednesday rocked a country already struggling to contend with deepening economic, hunger and other crises.
Driving the news: The withdrawal of U.S. troops and Taliban takeover last August helped plunge the country into a "catastrophic" humanitarian crisis made worse by the Russia's war in Ukraine, a collapsing economy and protracted drought.
State of play: Nearly 20 million people — almost half the country's population — were facing acute hunger at the beginning of last month, according to a UN-backed report.
- Tens of thousands of people faced catastrophic levels of hunger, the UN said.
- At least 1.1 million Afghan children are expected to suffer from the most severe form of malnutrition this year, according to another recent UN report.
At the same time, about 18.1 million Afghans, including nearly 3.2 million children under age 5, are in need of health services, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said last week.
- She warned that "the people of Afghanistan are experiencing some of the darkest moments of a generation," including grave human rights abuses.
The big picture: The freezing of assets and sanctions imposed after the Taliban takeover last year cut off international development aid and much of the other financial assistance the country was dependent on. ...
- The Biden administration has taken steps, including issuing sanctions waivers and other measures, to allow humanitarian aid to be sent to Afghanistan. But UN human rights experts have