CARE International Statement on Afghanistan: “We stand in solidarity with Afghans, our work will continue”

Following this latest chapter in Afghanistan’s decades-long struggle with conflict and turmoil. CARE International is concerned that hard-won development gains, particularly for women and girls, will possibly disappear.

Sally Austin, CARE International Head of Emergency Operations, says: “Big progress has been made over the past 20 years in the growth of women and girls’ rights and opportunities. Our genuine hope is that none of these rights regress or disappear, and the voices of the women and girls of Afghanistan remain heard, and their many contributions to their communities recognized and encouraged. We stand in solidarity with all these women and will continue to work on their behalf.”

CARE has worked alongside communities in Afghanistan since 1961 as a trusted provider of humanitarian assistance, with strong relationships in local communities. CARE is committed to staying in Afghanistan and continuing our programmatic work.

Austin says, “Throughout our decades working in Afghanistan, CARE’s Afghan teams and our staff have remained committed to supporting Afghanistan’s most vulnerable groups, with a mission that transcends any one party or government. That is because our work depends on strong, constructive relationships and partnerships with local communities and actors in the areas that CARE works.”

With more than 18 million people in need of assistance, Afghanistan remains one of the largest humanitarian crises in the world – even before last week. The current combination of food insecurity, poverty and income loss, displacement, and armed conflict is likely to trigger negative coping behaviours and increase protection risks, especially for women and girls.

Austin adds, “While the world watches and waits to see what unfolds, humanitarian needs are mounting.  Needs are high, and time is of the essence, yet the international community has mobilized just 38% of the resources requested to provide life-saving support. We cannot turn our backs on the women, girls, and vulnerable communities of Afghanistan at this time. We also must stand with our Afghan allies and partners who helped and continue to help advance our work and mission on the ground and ensure their safety, security, and well-being.”

Women and girls were already in need of access to menstrual hygiene products, food, health services that include gender-based violence support, and the ability to make choices in their households on how money is spent.

With these latest developments in country, the risks to women and girls, including early and forced marriages, are likely to increase.

Christina Kakaletris

Afghanistan already had 2.9 million internally displaced people (IDPs) prior to 2021, and the pace of families fleeing their homes has intensified due to conflict and drought. Since January 1, more than 550,000 Afghans – nearly 80% women and children – have become IDPs. More than 390,000 people have been newly internally displaced since the start of Taliban’s territorial expansion between May-August.

Many parts of the country are experiencing drought conditions, made worse by a warm winter with rain and snowfall at half their usual levels. Without sufficient water from snowmelt, farmers are seeing crop failures and food shortages, leading to displacement. At least 11 million people in Afghanistan already had high levels of food insecurity prior to the government’s collapse.

In 2020, CARE Afghanistan reached 1,020,080 people, including 93,654 people with humanitarian assistance.

CARE has a long history in Afghanistan, establishing its first mission there in 1961. CARE’s programs in Afghanistan focus on women’s social and economic empowerment, education, rural development and emergency response.

Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package®, CARE develops solutions alongside women and girls in developing countries to lift themselves, their families, and their communities out of poverty and out of crisis. CARE stands with women and girls around the world in economic empowerment. We bring women, girls, and their communities together to challenge inequality while facing issues like food insecurity, climate change, and emergency relief in times of crisis or disaster. CARE works in 100 countries around the world.

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