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UN Study of Afghanistan Economy Shows a State Near Non-Existence

Sept. 10, 2021 (EIRNS)—The United Nations Development Program released a devastating study Sept. 9, entitled, “Economic Instability and Uncertainty in Afghanistan after August 15,” that pulls together the picture of the underdeveloped, shrunken, and fragile state of Afghanistan’s economy.

The 17-page UNDP study reports that, “external aid accounts for three-quarters of the government’s budget” in Afghanistan. The domestic Afghan economy is so small as to contribute very little to the tiny budget. The government budget services, such as schools, hospitals, infrastructure—such as they are—derive overwhelmingly from the outside.

It reports that Afghanistan has only 600 MW of domestic electricity generating capacity, which is the size of a single medium to large industrial plant in the United States. At this level, the per- person electricity generating capacity in Afghanistan is less than 1% that of the U.S.

“UNICEF has announced that 10 million children across Afghanistan require humanitarian assistance to survive, 1 million children are projected to suffer from acute severe malnutrition, and 4.2 million children are out of school.”

Sanctions are causing “a severe disruption,” the report concludes.

“The Biden administration has frozen the assets of Afghanistan’s Central Bank (DAB)—including most of the central bank reserves of over $9 billion—which are held in the U.S. The national currency, afghani, fell as much as 6.6% to 86.14 per dollar on Aug. 17th.... An IMF allocation of SDRs equivalent to about $450 million is out of reach since the U.S. Federal Reserve has shut access to dollar liquidity for the Central Bank of Afghanistan.” And now, “The World Bank has also suspended financial support, and financial aid pledged earlier by most donors is being reconsidered.”

Fully 72% of the Afghan population officially lives below the poverty level of $2 per day per person. The UNDP developed a model simulation that found that with the “fragmentation” of the economy, now ongoing, and the cutoff of international trade, poverty would record “a 25% increase from 2020,” which would create the specter of “near universal poverty,” of 97% of the population.

The Afghanistan economy hardly exists. This is Tony Blair’s legacy of the Imperial British-American 20-year occupation of Afghanistan, and annihilation of the nation.

Helga Zepp-LaRouche’s call “Can ‘The West’ Learn? What Afghanistan Needs Now!” is the step to make Afghanistan a regional hub, and bring to it the fruits of peace through development.

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