EIR LEAD EDITORIAL FOR SATURDAY, JANUARY 15, 2022
UN Direct Appeal to U.S. State Department: Save Afghanistan from Mass Death
Jan. 14, 2022 (EIRNS)—As of the time of this dispatch, word is awaited from a meeting (virtual) today, to be held with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and top officials of the United Nations on Afghanistan, that was announced yesterday by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, because of the imminence of mass death. Guterres called not only for mobilizing full-scale aid, but for the urgent re-establishment of the Central Bank, currency liquidity and a financial system, or the country will cease to exist. He said that millions of Afghans are on the “verge of death,” and that “freezing temperatures and frozen assets are a lethal combination. Rules and conditions that prevent money from being used to save lives and the economy must be suspended in this emergency situation,” he warned.
Guterres singled out the United States, saying that it has “a very important role to play because most of the financial system in the world operates in dollars,” and the U.S. is withholding most of the frozen Afghan foreign reserves. Expected to be present at the meeting today with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, besides Guterres himself, are Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, and Martin Griffiths, UN Undersecretary for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief.
On Jan. 11 Griffiths issued an international funding appeal, on behalf of all UN humanitarian agencies and aid partners, for $4.4 billion this year for Afghanistan, which is the largest such appeal for a single nation in the history of the United Nations.
Among the necessary measures cited in the appeal is the lifting of sanctions against Afghanistan, which prevent essential commercial functions, as well as emergency aid, and the unfreezing of the $9.5 billion in assets belonging to the nation and people of Afghanistan, and other measures allowing banking, currency and exchange to function. Impoverishment has reached the stage of destitution, in which barely 5% of the entire population of 38 million have enough to eat. 23 million are in various degrees of extreme hunger, and of those, 8.9 million people are at the starvation point.
Among the limited fallback initiatives of the Taliban government, is the food-for-work program, in which a person who is still able, is offered 10 kg of wheat, for a set amount of work. This is unlivable. Yesterday, World Food Program Country Director for Afghanistan Mary-Ellen McGroarty described the situation to AP as a “tsunami of hunger.”
Responding to this emergency is a test of morality for the “West,” whose U.S. and NATO forces pulled out five months ago, after 20 years of occupation. No lies about “democracy” and “values-driven” foreign relations can cover up the culpability for mass death that will result unless emergency action is taken now.
The same test of morality is involved in the question of war or peace, in the current confrontation of the U.S. and NATO against Russia. Yesterday was the last of the trio of talks this week between Russia and the “West”: On January 9-10, talks between the U.S. and Russia (Geneva) took place; on January 12, between NATO and Russia (Brussels); and on Jan. 13, the OSCE and Russia (Vienna) talks. Initiated by Russia, which provided two security guarantee texts in December for concrete action, potential for productive work was blocked, not surprisingly, by a collective stance of lies and threats from the U.S. and NATO, with almost nil exception.
Nevertheless, today, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, giving his annual review of last year’s diplomacy, did speak of proceeding on these security talks, on principle, with good will, while sternly saying that what is now expected are written replies to the Russian proposed texts, and soon. Russia does not have infinite patience, he underscored.
However, almost at the same time as the end of the Vienna OSCE talks yesterday, U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan signaled a new attack on Russia, which has since come to pass. Sullivan said at a press briefing, that “the intelligence community has developed information” that Russia is right now “laying the groundwork to have the option of fabricating a pretext for an invasion” of Ukraine, the same way they did so in 2014. He said Russia is using the same “playbook” as they did in 2014, and “the Administration will have further details on what we see as this potential laying of a pretext, to share with the press over the course of the next 24 hours.” Right on Sullivan’s cue, “the press” came out this morning with three waves of articles—with the Washington Post and the New York Times in the lead—that Russia has assets embedded in Ukraine, ready to stage a “false flag” stunt, to justify Russian invasion. Secondly, that the U.S. better consider leading, not just supporting, Ukraine’s defense against Russia in the event of attack. Thirdly, come the reports that a new cyber-attack on Ukraine ministries has just occurred, with Russia presumed to be the perpetrator.
If this line of insane foreign policy is allowed to continue, the result will be mass death from war. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has already come out denouncing these accusations as completely unfounded, based on “hearsay.”
The Schiller Institute, with collaborators, has mobilized all possible means to expose and stop this deadly course of action, and its perpetrators. For immediate attention to the Afghanistan emergency, a Schiller Institute webinar will be held Monday, January 17, at 11 a.m., titled, “Stop the Murder of Afghanistan.”
Schiller Institute President Helga Zepp-LaRouche said yesterday on her weekly strategic webcast, “If you have any heart left in your body, then join this campaign. Because, I think if the West cannot mobilize to help to resolve the situation which we caused—I mean, ‘we,’ the West, NATO was there for 20 years—if we cannot solve that, the whole world will look at the West with complete contempt. So this is a last chance to reverse that, by joining hands now with all the neighbors, and including emphatically Russia and China, but the Europeans and the United States are called upon the most. Because if we can’t do that, then I think this will be the symbol of our demise. And we must not allow that to happen, but must take that as the turning point of history.”