Two years since regime change and Afghanistan children face a perilous future

15 Aug 2023 by World Vision
Two years since regime change and Afghanistan children face a perilous future

It’s been two years since the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan and World Vision warns that more than half the population is now reliant on humanitarian assistance.

The international aid agency fears for the future of the country’s children, many of whom are hungry, out of school, involved in child labour, and at risk of child marriage.

World Vision Afghanistan’s National Director, Asuntha Charles, says there’s been a 20% jump in the number of people reliant on humanitarian assistance in the past year.

“The number of people in need of humanitarian assistance has increased from 24 million in 2022 to 29 million in 2023 – that’s an extra one in five people in just over a year and many of these families and children are literally starving.

“This is the culmination of decades of conflict, the ongoing impact of the climate crisis, and a highly dysfunctional economy following international disengagement,” she says.

World Vision New Zealand’s country programme manager for Afghanistan, Andy Robinson, says around 15 million Afghans are currently facing crisis levels of food insecurity.

“Afghanistan is facing a devastating hunger crisis and this has really long-term impacts for children especially. Their growth and development can be stunted and they don’t have enough food in their bellies to enjoy everyday life as children everywhere should.

“I have lived in Afghanistan and it is honestly heartbreaking to see what is happening to this beautiful country and its beautiful people. The international community can and should do more to help,” he says.

The New Zealand Government recently made a further $11 million grant to support vulnerable communities in Afghanistan, but international funding to support the beleaguered country appears to be waning.

“Now is not the time to turn our back on Afghanistan and its people. Children are desperately hungry, they need clean water, they need education and healthcare. World Vision is committed to stay and deliver for the people of Afghanistan, but we need the resources to be able to do this,” he says.

Much of the international focus has been on the egregious human rights violations, particularly for women and girls following a ruling that constrained women from working for Non-Governmental Organisations and girls from attending school beyond sixth grade.

Robinson says World Vision is still employing women staff members and they are delivering vital services for the people of Afghanistan, reaching more than 1.1 million people in the first half of this year alone with emergency food supplies, healthcare, clean water and education programmes.

Robinson says a World Vision report in 2022 found that three-quarters of boys and half of girls had to work instead of going to school.

“All Afghan children must have access to education. Directives which have excluded most girls from secondary and tertiary education will have a negative effect for generations, but it’s having an impact right now on girls’ mental health and the risk of child marriage,” he says.

World Vision has been working in Afghanistan for more than 20 years and has remained in the country since the regime change two years ago providing support for the Afghan people.

World Vision’s programmes prioritise maternal and child health, nutrition, clean water provision, livelihood and food security, education, child protection and multi-purpose cash programming.

World Vision works in collaboration with communities to meet basic needs, and promote recovery, resilience and community development.

To help children and families in Afghanistan survive, recover and build a future, visit