Descent into despair
THE WEEK|September 19, 2021
Along with the refugee problem, Afghanistan faces a major humanitarian crisis caused by shortage of essential supplies and medical aid
MANDIRA NAYAR

NAZEEMA STUDIED IN India, but she went back to Afghanistan, to work for women. Since the Taliban has taken over, she knows it is a matter of time before there is a knock at her door. “Everyone is at risk,’’ she says. “Especially women like me.” The complexion of the current government—17 of the 33 cabinet members are on the UN sanctions list—does not hold out much hope.

Nazeema’s story is by no means the exception. The UN estimates that half a million refugees will flee Afghanistan by the end of the year. Last year, nearly 14.3 lakh Afghans crossed over to Pakistan, while Iran provided shelter to 7.8 lakh. India, by comparison, admitted only 8,275 refugees.

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