“There is no time to lose”. Arif Oryakhail, an Afghan doctor, who worked with the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation in Afghanistan and who left Kabul on the Italian airlift last August 15, the day of the surrender of the Afghan capital to the Taliban, says loudly. Now he is back in Rome, where he had studied, and with the “Kabul unit” transferred here he continues to work to “coordinate humanitarian aid and everything we can do for Afghanistan”. On the day of the extraordinary videoconference meeting of G20 leaders on Afghanistan, chaired by Mario Draghi, Oryakhail denounced in an interview with Adnkronos how “the humanitarian situation is very serious” in the country, as “more than half of the population does not have food. enough “, he speaks of a” health system in total collapse “, of” closed hospitals and rehabilitation centers “.
“There is no time to waste – he repeats – We need to think about all aspects of the crisis in Afghanistan. Not only from a humanitarian point of view, but also from a political point of view”. We need to “think about the future of this country” because, he observes, “if the economy of this country collapsed, if this country collapsed, taking it back would not be easy”. And, he continues, “if even the little we have done collapses, recovering this country would become difficult”. A “total abandonment” of Afghanistan, he urges, would mean “the risk of the return of Daesh (Is), al-Qaeda, of terrorist groups”, the risk that Afghanistan will once again become a sanctuary of terrorism.
‘aid for the population must arrive as soon as possible, the Taliban respect the rules’
How can we avoid the most terrible humanitarian catastrophe? “They must concentrate to get aid – he replies – Everyone has announced availability, but so far nothing has arrived in Afghanistan”. “It is important not to waste time – he insists – In Afghanistan, aid must arrive as soon as possible. It must reach its destination, to the population in need”. It is, he admits, “a difficult job” and “the Taliban must respect the rules of humanitarian aid”.
Winter is upon us. “A cold period is coming, very cold, with temperatures that could reach minus 20 – says Oryakhail, who remembers his two degrees in medicine, in Afghanistan and in Rome – How can they survive in this situation?”. The reference is to the “government” announced by the Taliban, for two months once again masters of Afghanistan, after what for Oryakhail was a “sudden withdrawal” of international forces, at the end of 20 years of mission, which left the country , “abandoned”, in “chaos”. “There is no internationally recognized government – he continues – banks don’t work, international flights are blocked, borders are closed, no food or drugs arrive”.
‘for hospital operations patients have to buy gauze and scalpels, in Italy we need a project for Afghans evacuated from Kabul, they are not refugees’
Oryakhail tells of “open hospitals that unfortunately do not receive drugs”, which “have nothing” because in fact they depended on “donors” and “the World Bank has blocked funding for the moment”, he says of structures that “exist”, of health personnel who “exist, but have not received salaries, medicines, equipment for six months”. “Those who go to the hospital for an operation – he continues – must first buy everything they need, from gauzes to scalpels, and then go to the facility for the operation. Or they must contact private individuals”.
And we must also think of the Afghans who arrived in Italy with the airlift in the days of the race against time for the evacuations from Kabul. “After a first moment of euphoria, because they were happy to have been saved, for them the problems begin now”, admits Oryakhail, who is thinking of integration “in a country where they know neither the language nor the culture”. Home, school, work, a family to support. “We need an ad hoc project for those who have been evacuated – he concludes – They are not refugees. We brought them here. The government must develop an ad hoc project for the recognition of their documents, for integration, for insertion into the world of work “.