Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

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‘We were seven. Only I am left’: the plight of Afghanistan’s earthquake survivors

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The National, 1 November 2023

A new reportage from the earthquake disaster zone near Herat, with some remarkable findings:

An engineer working for an international NGO, who also requested anonymity as they are not authorised to speak to journalists, said [Taleban-led disaster management authority] Anda and aid groups had learnt many lessons from the major earthquakes that struck Paktika and Khost, in south-eastern Afghanistan, last year. It was the Taliban’s first experience with a major natural disaster since it took power in 2021.

“We can co-ordinate better with the [Taleban de facto-authorities] now and design buildings in the local style, but with some modifications here and there that will help.”


The normally onerous procedures for foreign aid operations have been suspended for earthquake relief projects, says one aid worker from a major international NGO, who requested anonymity because they are not authorised to speak to the media.

“We don’t need any of the usual permits to do our relief work in the earthquake-affected areas,” the aid worker said. “Normally we face a lot of challenges and restrictions – getting permission can take up to four months. But the DFA recognises the seriousness of the situation. They have just asked us [international aid groups] to co-ordinate our activities with one another.”

“The only challenge we have faced is the DFA’s requirement that no female staff are allowed to work in the disaster area without a male escort. But we are very familiar with this restriction by now, so we were well prepared.”