The urgent need for New Zealand aid to Afghanistan


Our government has understandably been preoccupied with helping refugees leave Afghanistan.  But now the focus should shift to emergency aid for Afghanistan itself.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned of a humanitarian catastrophe, and urges ”all member states to dig deep for the people of Afghanistan in their darkest hour of need. “

As a participant in a war that pulled Afghanistan apart, New Zealand has a moral duty to be at the forefront of this international aid effort.

New Zealand should not follow the example the United States, which doesn’t seem to care about the economic plight of ordinary Afghans.  The Biden administration has frozen the US$9 billion of Afghan Central Bank money deposited in American accounts, severely limiting the access of ordinary Afghans to their own cash.

To add insult to injury the Americans trashed Kabul airport as they left making it that more difficult for passengers and air freight to get in and out of the country.

All this in a poor nation where  around 40% of Afghanistan’s GDP has been coming from foreign aid.  Given America’s spiteful attitude towards the new Afghan government much of this aid may not continue.

The channeling of international aid into Afghanistan would be expedited by early recognition of, and engagement with, the new Taliban government, when it is formed.  It will be far from the government we would like, but it will be the government, and an effective aid effort requires its cooperation.

Exactly what the new Taliban government will look like is not yet clear.  Life in the big cities might bear some resemblance to that in Saudi Arabia, where women are allowed to work but have their other rights restricted.

TDB Recommends

Clearly, the Taliban movement has different currents, some more “modernising” than others.  There is a good argument that early engagement with the Taliban by countries like New Zealand could strengthen the hand of the more modernising  elements.

New Zealand has already received praise from one of the seemingly more moderate Taliban spokespeople, Abdul Qahar Balkhi, for last month’s $3 million contribution to humanitarian  work in Afghanistan, channeled through Red Cross and the UN refugee agency.  Mr Balkhi thanked New Zealanders “for showing empathy with their fellow human beings.”

There has been a huge groundswell of support for New Zealand’s contribution to the extraction of refugees from Afghanistan.  We identified with the fear these people felt when the Taliban took control.

We can, and must, support these refugees.  But we should also recognise that the sudden departure of tens of thousands of highly skilled Afghans will worsen the economic and social crisis the country faces.

The situation is dire.  Ramiz Alakbarov, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan, has pointed out that with most of the international aid shut off, and money scarce, many government services cannot function.  He added that more than half of Afghan children are struggling to find their next meal.

New Zealand’s initial aid contribution of $3 million is a good start, but we have a responsibility to give much more given the huge need in Afghanistan today.


    • Giving a helping hand to the Taliban.

      Didn’t NZ also ‘help’ with the “reconstruction” which has also gone amiss in history?

      Agree, can we urgently help some kids in NZ instead of more donations to Central Asia – the government’s favourite charity cause.

      • My bad, the governments favourite charity is themselves and their business partners and donors, followed by central Asia and virtue signalling. It’s even better when they are combined.

    • @ Andrew. Well done. I’d read a couple of your comments previously and thought you might have something to contribute. But nope.
      Ignorance is still your passport to cruelty. Are you a right wing yank? Serious question, because you seem as dumb as any of them?

    • “more than half of Afghan children are struggling to find their next meal.”

      Andrew ,,,,: ‘Fuck the children ,,, I’ve been ignoring starving children in Yemen for over 5 years now so Afghan children mean nothing to me either’ …..

      … or as he actually said it : “How’s about to ourselves first?
      And most of whatever aid goes into that crap hole ,,, ” ,,, is stolen by people other than ‘Black Water’ ,,, Palantair etc

      ‘Afghan Operations Insight with Palantir’

    • @ bruce moose. Fuck off you dumb, nasty moron !
      Been to Vietnam? The yanks did that to them. All those beautiful young people with deformities? That’s as a result of agent orange causing genetic mutations.
      Been to today’s Cambodia? Wee kids getting fucked by rich yanks, kiwi’s, germans and russians because they’re the bread winners now since we carpeted their country in parcel bombs and unexploded ordinance? And if they’re lucky enough to put on a little weight, the land mine they’ve been stepping on for years is suddenly triggered and they end up legless or dead.
      Here’s a revelation for you dip shit. WE are the fucking terrorists. WE greedy arrogant white fucks. We swaggering, dicks-out, puffed up, boo yah wankers and the funny thing is, we got our arses kicked by people normally found in rice fields with their water buffalo.
      Not only did we get shamed, we got humiliated then defeated.
      Sorry? Who’s the terrorist again Big Boy?

  1. Understand the point being made but like others I wonder shouldn’t we be looking after child poverty and homelessness in NZ as a priority.
    I also fear donations will not help the needy but rather end up in the hands of War Lords.

    • Agreed John, how many times have we seen foreign aid misused by corrupt leaders.
      I do wonder if we could offer to send advisors, maybe from our Afgan community, to help in rebuilding. Would their experiences in NZ help in influencing Afghanistans future direction. Maybe wishful thinking on my part but we have to start somewhere in doing things differently.

        • AOM, giving money alone is like giving money to an alcoholic to get food! If you truely want to help you have to get physically involved with ‘wrap around services’. Hence my suggestion of practical rather than financial help. Seems to me, rightly or wrongly, aid and charity has become an industry in itself with all of corporate wheeling and dealing that involves.

          • Sorry but your logic is allusive and you seem to have deliberately avoided the question.
            However, in response to your comment, how can ‘wrap around’ services be provided and who do you think will be physically involved? Afghans are just as capable of rebuilding without do-gooders getting in their way when they have the resources.

            If “charity has become an industry in itself with all of corporate wheeling and dealing that involves.” it would make more sense for Afghanistan to be able to access their own funds that have been tied up by the international finance cartels at the behest of the US.

            • Aom, I have no idea if the $3m is going to be wisely or effectively used; my reply to John was obviously a generalised comment and an agreement with his ‘charity begins at home’ theme.

  2. Since we are all going to have a 14th century lifestyle (at best) in the near future as a consequence of the abject failure of a succession of NZ governments to do ANY appropriate planning with respect to energy and the environment, and that 14th century lifestyle will be reached via chaos and starvation in NZ, we might as well let Afghanistan lead the way.

    Much more likely, however, is that deluded fools will push for yet more energy and resources to be squandered, as per your article, Keith.

    Sure, there is a moral argument regarding helping the victims of American-led imperialism. But as Garret Harding pointed out in the late 1960s in ‘The Tragegy of the Commons’, helping maintain population overshoot in the short term does nobody any favours in the long term.

    The military-industrial-financisl complex abhors fundamental scientific truth and fundamental mathematical truth, of course, and always presses ahead with short-termisn, thereby exacerbating everyone’s predicament.

  3. I think that the deal that the Taliban have struck up with the Chinese, Iran, Russia the French and Syria recently will mitigate a lot of the sanctions the US & Europe.
    The US analysis of the gas, oil and mineral resources buried under the ground in Afghanistan worth many trillions of dollars as well as the infrastructure projects on the way should be enough to get them started.

    The west needs to stay the fuck out of nations and stop interfering in their internal conflicts. The Colonial West is the problem, not the solution.
    Afghanistans history should also be ringing alarm bells! “Stay the fuck Away!”

    Let them determine what they want, and how they want to live. No more pious Christian saviour bs interference from the outsiders and do gooders. Thats never helped anyone.

  4. It is a sad day when NZ’s meagre charity is needed to keep Afghanis alive, while the US controlled international financial cartels are freezing their financial reserves that they should be able to use to support themselves.

  5. They have been liberated from Western oppression & occupation, they need nothing from the west. I’m sure they’ll be very happy to determine their own future without any further interference or aid. NZ should never have been involved it that illegal & misguided war.

  6. Keith you are right, and perhaps we could find some way to ameliorate the conditions that we have helped to cement in. Afghanistan has been the centre of so much dissension, invasion etc over decades, century? – the country everyone loves to hate. What they have been left with is a mess and empty promises. Perhaps we could start a pipeline of aid that could be applied to somewhere that would help ordinary people. Women leaning to be nurses and about healthy plants and diets. Males learning about pottery and making clay pipes for drainage and the use of trees for shading crops – things that our Wendy Campbell Purdie* demonstrated at Bou Saada, Algeria in the 1960s.

    We could try small, practical as an outreach from this country alone. Perhaps we need a Rewi Alley in Afghanistan if he would be safe. We wouldn’t want a Terry Waites ordeal for a good-hearted man.

  7. Greywarbler it’s time people like you, Locke and Minto realised that we are in dire straits here at home with child poverty and homelessness and need to spend our all our scarce recourses on our own people.
    This in on the same level of idiocy as Britain giving aid to India seventy years after the Raj while India builds nukes and has a space programme.

  8. Greywarbler it’s time people like you, Locke and Minto realised that we are in dire straits here at home with child poverty and homelessness and need to spend our all our scarce recourses on our own people.
    This in on the same level of idiocy as Britain giving aid to India seventy years after the Raj while India builds nukes and has a space programme.

    • Chris, it is time you realised that the ‘named’ people in your comment won’t be shamed as they have done a damned sight more than you are ever likely to do in the areas of child poverty and homelessness.

      Throwing stones is easy for the wilfully uninformed so it seems.

  9. “a war that pulled Afghanistan apart’
    Really? There’s been intertribal or ethnic warfare in Afghanistan since forever, that’s what they do. The Taliban won’t bring Afghanistan together, they’ll try, and with the utmost brutality but factions are forming among the various groups right now.

    • Your account ignores recent history that Afghanistan was a safe and friendly country to travel to ,,,,

      until the usa decided to turn it into a slaughter house in 1979 ,,,

      From which arose the Taliban ,,,, David George sounds like he’s talking about Europe pre WW II.


      If you were a ‘Mr Nice’ ,,,,, then doing Bossiness in Afghanistan was no problem.

        • Operation Cyclone was the code name for the United States Central Intelligence Agency program to arm and finance the Afghan mujahideen in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989,…PRIOR to and during the military intervention by the USSR.

          Do you know what the word “Prior” means Brucey ?.

          ‘usa psycho’s decided in 1978 or 79 to fund Islamic fanatics and turn Afghanistan into a bear trap,,,, to flood the country with weapons and Islamic fanatics ,,,,creating a quagmire for the Soviets…’

          … They did this knowing full well it would destroy and ruin Afghanistan ,,, and training / arming up to 100,000 Islamic extremists in Pakistan ,,, has rooted them too.

          “Ex-Security Chief Brzezinski’s Interview with Le Nouvel Observateur makes clear:
          “The Muslim Terrorist Apparatus was Created by US Intelligence as a Geopolitical Weapon”

          “Le Nouvel Observateur–” When the Soviets justified their intervention with the statement that they were fighting against a secret US interference in Afghanistan, nobody believed them. Nevertheless there was a core of truth to this…Do you regret nothing today? ,,,

          ,,,, Zbigniew Brzezinski: Regret what? This secret operation was an excellent idea. It lured the Russians into the Afghan trap, and you would like me to regret that? On the day when the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote president Carter, in essence: “We now have the opportunity to provide the USSR with their Viet Nam war.”

          Le Nouvel Observateur: And also, don’t you regret having helped future terrorists, having given them weapons and advice?

          Zbigniew Brzezinski: What is most important for world history? The Taliban or the fall of the Soviet Empire? Some Islamic hotheads or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?

          Le Nouvel Observateur: “Some hotheads?” But it has been said time and time again: today Islamic fundamentalism represents a world-wide threat…

          Zbigniew Brzezinski: Rubbish!”

          • It was the communist take over in 1977/78 supported by the USSR that first destabilized Afghanistan.
            Reference the Saur Revolution.

  10. Kia ora Keith,

    Do we know if the NZDF has even paid the $10 million they promised to, for the clean up of all their war refuse that is still killing Afghanistan men women and children?

    What about compensation to the survivors and the families of the 7 slain children, has the NZDF given anything to the victims of their abusive carelessness?

    18 November, 2019

    …..what the reaction has been from the Defence Force, and about the $10 million that has been allocated for sweeping clean the firing range – that hasn’t been spent yet.

  11. Of course New Zealand should give aid to Afghanistan.

    New Zealand spent $300 million on the NZDF war effort.

    New Zealand should be prepared to spend at least that much to help pay for the reconstruction.

    According to various government sources New Zealand was in Banyan building roads and schools and hospitals.

    We need to continue this work and instead of going there with our guns, and armoured vehicles and barbed wire as part of an occupying force, go there at the invitation of the Taliban authorities and Afghan people. If we cannot win the war. let us win the peace.

    The Taliban claim they welcome Western Aid.

    New Zealand needs to return to Afghanistan, this tine not as occupiers, but as guests.

    We should ask our NZDF volunteers and interpreters who served in the war, if any would be prepared to volunteer to go back to Afghanistan without their guns, to complete the aid projects they claimed to have been working on before the Taliban takeover.

    Our war with the Taliban is over, they won we lost. we need to get over it. We need to go back there in peace.
    We went there in war, now the war is over, instead of turning our backs on the Afghan people we need to send an aid mission paid at the same level as our our military mission. We could (and should), fund a mini-Marshall Plan, as a template for the reconstruction of the country, that our bigger allies could follow.

    Admittedly such a mission would be dangerous and even life threatening, 

    Charlotte Bellis is staying on in Afghanistan at the invitation of the victorious Taliban authorities. Bellis is armed only with a camera and a microphone. If Charlotte Bellis can do it, others can too.

    I think the first project we should offer to the Taliban authoriies and administrators is to complete the clearing up of our dangerous left over war refuse that is still killing Afghan children.

    I know there would be a financial burden and a sacrifice, And some may disagree because there are so many needy causes here that $300m could go a long way to solve. But we had no objection to spending that eye watering amount prosecuting the war. We are now honour bound to spend at least that much on winning the peace. The alternative is  complete collapse and famine, with consequences for the whole world. 

  12. The only reason the CIA got involved was because of the Soviet backed communists take over of Afghanistan in early 1978. Reference the Saur Revolution. The was prior to the US involvement and the catalyst to the formation of the Mujahideen.

Comments are closed.