Aid agencies must not take ‘eye off the ball’ in Afghanistan: OCHA

Ian Ridley, head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Afghanistan, says aid agencies and the international community must not take their “collective eye off the ball” in Afghanistan at this critical moment for peace.

A further slide into conflict would cause widespread humanitarian misery for Afghans, who have faced decades of war and displacement. Combined with the effects of climate change, a return to civil war would “devastate” the country, the OCHA chief told Rudaw English correspondent Robert Edwards in Kabul this September.

However, Ridley also warns there are big challenges ahead even if a peace deal is secured between the Afghan government and the Taliban, as refugees and IDPs return from exile, institutions develop, and the economy recovers.

The OCHA chief says the billions of dollars spent in humanitarian aid have been worth the expense and that donors must not lose interest in Afghanistan.

8 / December 2019