Stability Operations Magazine, 20 April 2020
In an exclusive 1TV interview after taking oath as First Vice-President, Amrullah Saleh made a confident statement, claiming the government has put a set of firm measures and precautions in place — while sharing no details on how they work — to reduce the infection rate of the pandemic before it reaches its peak. A week after his interview, the realities on the ground speak otherwise. Test kits are in short supply in Balkh, Herat, and Faryab while some regional centers like Bamyan, Badakhshan, and South East region have yet to receive their testing kits. Kabul city’s test centers are overwhelmed with referrals increasing on a daily basis while infection rates of hospital staff across the country continue to increase, including three doctors dying only in Kabul.
Saleh also said that this time and unprecedentedly, as the government battles with COVID-19, it will not hide behind non-state actors like the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) and other similar aid agencies. He argued aid agencies had been undermining the authority of nation states throughout the years and that will not happen again. (…)
In their first “COVID-19 Access Impediment” report, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), revealed excessive constraints to access linked to the outbreak of COVID-19 in Kabul and in the provinces on NGO workers. The report also reflected on the complaints of aid agencies with regards to temporary stoppage of visa issuance by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (…)
The bare fact is that Afghanistan’s institutions are still aid-dependent and too logistically weak to handle implementation of large aid allocations under normal and emergency situations. Kabul is strangled by a deep political crisis while facing a formidable Taliban insurgency across the country leaving the vulnerable population in greater danger of food insecurity and access to health services. Thus, a country-wide relief operation aimed at countering COVID-19 needs a broader coordination and implementation mechanism which is beyond the capacity of the government.
This article was last updated on 21 Apr 2020