Foreign funds frozen, Afghan aid organizations remain in limbo
The old system, which existed in the country before the banks, is based on the principle that if there are two people who want to send equal amounts of money between two places, the money does not need to change. tomorrow. The international anti-poverty organization CARE is among the relief providers who rely on hawala merchants to transfer funds and register loans between provinces.
“It’s probably not a long-term solution, but the hawala system has been useful for a long time,” said Marianne O’Grady, CARE’s deputy director for Afghanistan. “People trust it, so that’s what we use. “
Meanwhile, some countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Uzbekistan, have avoided the messy debate over financial aid by sending planes full of food and medicine to Kabul, betting that sacks of rice will be distributed to the needy and will not line the pockets of Taliban ministers who are on terrorism watch lists.
But many insist that informal remittances and rice shipments are hardly the way to prevent Afghanistan’s financial and social collapse at a time when the stakes are so high: with drought and With the threat of famine, the potential brutality of the Taliban and a crumbling healthcare system, Afghans face more desperate times as winter approaches.
Although the $ 1.2 billion raised at the UN this week has exceeded expectations, uncertainty surrounds the outpouring of international sympathy. Aid workers want to know where exactly the money is going and when, as well as how the needs of local cash-strapped non-governmental organizations will be met as the Afghan banking system remains crippled.