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After 20 years of war, President Joe Biden has announced the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan. NATO forces will follow suit and return home.
EMERGENCY has been present in Afghanistan since 1999, running a network of hospitals and healthcare clinics that have treated over 7 million patients so far. We have seen the impact of this conflict on Afghan men, women and children first-hand, treating wounds and mending bodies. Despite all the investment, military presence, and lives lost, Afghanistan remains one of the deadliest places anywhere in the world.
EMERGENCY’s president, Rossella Miccio, says: “Our war and trauma facilities in Afghanistan are extremely busy. Having just returned from a visit to our projects in Kabul and Lashkar-Gah, I have seen the devastating impact the ongoing conflict continues to have, and we are already treating more patients so far in 2021 than last year. We are very concerned about what is to come in the months and years ahead. EMERGENCY has always been critical of the US-led military presence in Afghanistan.
After 20 years of war, the intervention and billions of dollars of spending have left no solid foundations for peace. On the contrary, new and more sophisticated weapons are widespread, whilst corruption is endemic. The withdrawal of troops at this extremely delicate time could lead to the conflict spiralling even further out of control, which would be a testament to the military intervention’s failures. As always, it is Afghan civilians that will suffer.”
“Amid all the uncertainty for the country’s future, one thing is clear: Afghanistan needs peace. The Afghan people have experienced unbearable losses and paid a huge price for extremely limited gains. It is crucial that the few positive developments from the past two decades can be built upon rather than immediately lost, and that warring parties can build a peaceful future that enables all Afghans to play their part and does not jeopardise human rights.”