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Feature: The Menace of Poverty in Afghanistan

Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in the world, and the people of Afghanistan have been burdened by poverty for years. The continued, widespread and devastating wars, in which millions of people lost their dear ones, have, along with other problems, brought us poverty and misery. At the same time, the lack of attention to the economic infrastructure of the country during the recent decades has been another reason of poverty in the country. Recent findings from the country’s statistics department indicate that the poverty rate in Afghanistan is shocking and has serious consequences. The findings revealed the figure of fifty one percent, indicating a bitter reality for the people, the global community, and the resentment of this land. One of the reasons that poverty has increased instead of decreasing is the flawed policies of National Unity Government (NUG) or, to term it more appropriately, Ghani administration since it is no more a national unity government.

The findings mentioned above point to another disastrous reality, which is that these fifty one percent of the country’s population are affected by multi-dimensional poverty – poverty in which there are indicators of lack of access to health services, education, basic facilities for life and work. It is well-known that today, aside from the fact that war and insecurity, which is a great misfortune, our people still face a shortage of health services. Still, in many war-torn areas, children and adolescents are deprived of going to school, and there are not enough living conditions available to the public.

The present government does not have any serious policy regarding poverty alleviation or employment creation. There is clear evidence of the migration of thousands of compatriots over the years away from the country. Right now, many thousands of our compatriots are unemployed throughout the country, and this has led them to turn to the enemy, to crimes and to create many problems for their families.

To reduce poverty and unemployment, the government needs to take comprehensive and long-term plans in the fields of security, education, health and economics and consider fundamental solutions to poverty eradication. Poverty should not be considered an integral part of the lives of the people of Afghanistan. People have the right to have affordable welfare facilities.

Poverty in society depends on several factors, but poverty in Afghanistan is largely dependent on the following problems.

No Use of Natural Resources:

One of the factors behind Afghanistan’s poverty is not investing in the natural resources, and inappropriate utilization of them. Afghanistan is a rich country in terms of mineral resources, but most of these untapped resources remain intact. Though Ghani administration had the opportunity to start something remarkable in this regard, it could only concentrate on non-issues and wasted the valuable time and opportunity.

No Strategy by the Government:

One of the main causes of poverty in Afghanistan is the inadequacy of governments or the lack of a precise and comprehensive strategy to get out of poverty. Most of the governments, particularly, the current government, have kept on complaining about the growing insecurity and has dedicated all the resources to the same issue; however, even that has not generated any result. As a consequence, the poverty has lingered on and the failed security measures have further aggravated the situation.

Unemployment:

Unemployment is considered to be one of the main causes of poverty in the country, and the presence of more than four million unemployed young people can be a sign of this bitter reality. President Ghani, during the early days of its formation, promised to create thousands of jobs for the youngsters; however, nothing worthwhile has been achieved; even, the government is not able to give any official figure in this regard.

Insecurity:

Three decades of war in the country have destroyed all the infrastructure and displaced hundreds of thousands of people inside the country and disrupted the normal course of life of the people.

Natural Disasters:

Natural disasters, such as floods, diseases, pest attacks, and many years of trouble for a country like Afghanistan, which does not have proper arrangement to deal with such incidents, have spread poverty to far-flung areas of the country.

Illiteracy:

Another factor in creating poverty in society is illiteracy. There are over 65% illiterate people who have a majority in rural areas. About four million children are deprived of schools and more than a million other children are child labors.

Ill-Controlled Population:

Ill-controlled population is recognized as another factor of poverty in Afghanistan. Higher number of children in families, where there is facility for education, health, food and other needs of life, can further push the families in more poverty.

To reduce poverty and unemployment, the government needs to have comprehensive and long-term strategy for all the fields of life, like security, education, health and economy. It must also make efforts to eradicate the roots instead of running after the branches. Poverty should not be considered an integral part of the lives of the people. People of Afghanistan have the right to have rudimentary requirements of life that can guarantee their existence without severe poverty.

(Sahar News)

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