Aware of the harsh Afghan winter rapidly approaching and pre-famine conditions, the Bush administration announced today $100 million in new Afghan relief aid. However, this is only a fraction of the $538 million requested by U.N. agencies to provide emergency assistance for Afghan refugees. To meet the U.N. appeal to donor nations, some 40% must come from the U.S. Currently, there are roughly over 7 million Afghan refugees – 3.5 million in Pakistan, 1.5 million in Iran, and 1 million in other neighboring countries, along with millions more who are displaced within Afghanistan and are likely to attempt to flee. Seventy-five percent of refugees are women and children. U.S. officials are also looking at ways to airlift food and supplies into some of the most remote areas of Afghanistan where it is estimated that millions do not have enough food to last through the winter. Humanitarian aid is essential to save lives, prevent destabilization of Pakistan, and to cause defection from the Taliban.
The Feminist Majority is conducting a massive campaign urging more humanitarian aid, the restoration of women’s rights, and the establishment of democracy as a part of any long-range solution to terrorism. “Remember the young boys and men refugees are supplying the Taliban with soldiers,” said Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority. “Desperate conditions breed extremism. Humanitarian aid is needed for people to survive and to stop terrorism.”
To learn more about the Feminist Majority’s Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan and find out how you can help, visit www.HelpAfghanWomen.com.