Pak-Afghan border control resulting increasing poverty in Afghanistan

United Nations report released on 10 September 2015 indicates that poor Afghans are selling their lands, taking loans from people and forced to live with relatives because of food insecurity (capacity of buying food) has doubled in the last year— the same period when Pakistan controlled its borders along with Afghanistan.

The report title “2015 Seasonal Food Security Assessment in Afghanistan (SFSA)” released by the United Nations and partner agencies is silent to share immediate reasons of this drastic change of capacity of buying food by Afghans but independent analysts and researchers believe that majority of Afghans used to cross Afghan-Pak border illegally and worked inside Pakistan and used to send money or food from Pakistan and all these activities were unregistered therefore financial impact of this illegal cross-border activity was never felt or documented.

Analysts believe that since this cross-border activity was illegal thereby money was coming to Afghanistan without giving any taxes and without going through any documentation. Researchers believe that over half a million Afghans used to cross border and work in Pakistan and feed their families inside Afghanistan without coming under any record, documentation or visa system. Since Pakistan has control its borders with Afghanistan when it launched its operation against terrorism in June 2014 and illegal movement was restricted, resulting immediate increase of poverty in Afghanistan.

UN report indicates that the number of Afghans facing severe food insecurity increased from 4.7 per cent of the population 12 months ago to 5.9 per cent today.

This means more than 1.5 million people are now considered severely food insecure (poor who cannot buy food). In one year increase is recorded as 317,000 persons. Report further indicates that another 7.3 million people are classed as moderately food insecure. In simple words, one in every four Afghans is becoming too poor to buy food.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) indicated that the greatest concern in the assessment is the finding that the proportion of severely food insecure people who have already exhausted their capacity to cope with these emergencies has increased, meaning many more are now forced to sell land, take children out of school to work, or depend on relatives for support.

“Although Afghanistan will produce slightly more wheat this year, a large number of poor and hungry people will not be able to purchase food from the market. It is a question of access rather than production. Special attention needs to be given to female-headed households and displaced people for agriculture-based livelihoods”,  said Tomio Shichiri, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Representative in Afghanistan.



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