LONDON: International aid to Afghanistan should resume amid a growing humanitarian crisis in the country, a former chief of the British Army has told Sky News.
The withdrawal of aid in the wake of the Taliban takeover last year has “led to babies dying and people going hungry,” Lord Dannatt said, adding that a rollback of women’s rights by the Taliban should not deter Western governments from donating to Afghanistan.
Aid is still transferred to the country, but through NGOs and charities rather than national governments.
“We quite unnecessarily withdrew in precipitate haste a year ago, but then I think absolutely outrageously have cut aid to Afghanistan,” Lord Dannatt said.
“People are starving. We went there to help the Afghan people and now we’re just actually watching them suffer — I think it’s outrageous.
“And I think (UK Home Secretary) Priti Patel and other members of the government should take no pride in what is happening. They should be starting again — as should the Americans who are principally responsible for what happened.
“(They) should be significantly increasing their aid packages again to allow the people to have food and to thrive in Afghanistan,” he added.
“Having cut off aid to Afghanistan — that is why babies are dying in hospitals, that is why people are starving up and down the country.
“Now, is that right? As I said before, when we spent 20 years building up Afghanistan … why should we suddenly stop helping the people now because we don’t like the Taliban?
“Yes, their human rights record is not good, they have stopped girls going to secondary school. But is that the right price to pay for the majority of Afghan people to be starving and babies to be dying? I don’t think so.”