The situation in Afghanistan remains very difficult. The disastrous visit by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Kabul to reconcile Afghan leaders Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah and his threat to cut funding further confused the situation.
For many decades of civil and other wars, Afghans have become accustomed to living in conditions of permanent trouble. But now even the most persistent people in Afghanistan agree that the appearance of the coronavirus Covid-19 is already too much. Hundreds of thousands of Afghans working in Iran over the past few weeks, by order of the Iranian authorities, crossed the Iran-Afghanistan border. Now at least 14 thousand people cross it daily.
At present, there are at least 50 patients in the province of Herat, bordering Iran. This is more than half of all cases of infection in Afghanistan, which amounted to 74 as of March 24.
It is difficult to choose a more inappropriate time for the epidemic to come than now. Peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government did not begin, and Pompeo’s visit to Kabul ended in failure. The main American diplomat, who put a lot of his reputation, including his reputation, on a peace agreement with the Taliban, flew to Doha to meet with Mullah Abdul Gani Baradar, who heads the Taliban delegation in negotiations with the United States, who was very disappointed. He never managed to convince the current President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, and Prime Minister Abdullah Abdullah, who again challenged his post, to form a government of national unity and send a joint delegation to negotiations with the Taliban, which were supposed to begin on March 10.
The result of political uncertainty was the aggravation of the situation in the country. Although in fairness it should be said that, with the exception of the week of “reducing violence” on the eve of the signing of the peace agreement, the situation in Afghanistan has never been calm recently. Terrorist attacks like the attack on the Sikh temple in Kabul, although not always carried out by the Taliban, occur regularly and are, unfortunately, the only permanent element in the life of unfortunate Afghans.
It was confirmed that coronavirus spread to Afghanistan when its first case in Herat was confirmed on February 24, 2020. According to the Ministry of Health of Afghanistan, to date, 174 cases have been confirmed across the country.
The World Health Organization (WHO) outlined six steps that each country must take to stop the spread of coronavirus.
- Expand, train, and deploy your public health powers.
- Deploy the system to find every suspected case.
- Increase testing capabilities and availability.
- Identify and adapt the key tools that you will use to treat and isolate patients.
- Develop a clear contact quarantine plan.
- Refocus the entire government on the suppression and deterrence of COVID-
The provinces of Herat, Kandahar, Logar, and Kabul are blocked, the Afghan government began to restrict the movement of residents in the provinces of Farah, Nangarhar, and Nimruz, the suspension of prayers in mosques to prevent the possible spread of the virus. On March 26, the government announced the release of 10,000 prisoners over the age of 55 to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
Even on the 3rd day of blocking in the capital of Kabul, you can see that the streets are full of people doing their daily work, below are some reasons why people do not take safety measures seriously. And there are several reasons for this.
Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in the world, and according to the government of Afghanistan, 42% of people live below the poverty line. Currently, the poverty line is defined as an income of 70 Afghans per day, equivalent to about $ 1. More than half of the population lives on less than a dollar a day, and so you can see that the streets are still crowded, people are looking for food for their families.
Afghanistan has survived wars and internal conflicts for more than three decades. As a result of the war, the education system collapsed, and several generations of Afghans became illiterate. The education system has recovered from the Taliban regime (2002), but we are far from the rest of the world. More than half of the population is illiterate.
Public awareness is the level of public awareness of the importance and consequences of precautions against coronavirus in cities and towns. Raising public awareness is not the same as informing the public about what needs to be done – it is explaining problems and disseminating knowledge among people so that they can make their own decisions and take precautionary measures seriously.
The gradual and uncontrolled rise in prices for general goods has created serious problems for the poor, where more than half of the population lives below the poverty line. Differences and price fluctuations for different goods are very strange and cannot be compared with any country in the world.
This means that the tragedy of Afghanistan, unfortunately, will continue in the foreseeable future. In the context of a sharp change in the vectors of US foreign policy, it is beneficial for Washington to shift this difficult burden on them, provided that they guarantee at least some semblance of stability and prevent Afghanistan from becoming a hotbed of international terrorism again. It is difficult to say how events will develop in this long-suffering country.
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