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Jun 14, 2022

The United Nations estimates around half of Afghanistan’s population – nearly 20 million people – faces acute hunger. The ongoing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan follows the end of America’s twenty-year war and the withdrawal of all US troops in August 2021. In February, the Biden administration decided to freeze nearly $10 billion in assets belonging to the Afghan central bank in order to prevent money going into the hands of the Taliban. 


Are US policies exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, and what does freezing of assets mean to accomplish? This week, the Eurasia Group Foundation’s Mark Hannah is joined by freelance journalist Matthieu Aikins and the co-founder of Unfreeze Afghanistan Masuda Sultan to better understand the current state of Afghanistan, President Biden’s decision to freeze Afghanistan assets in response to the Taliban’s takeover, and the ongoing plight of Afghans. 


Matthieu Aikins is a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine, and the author of The Naked Don’t Fear the Water: An Underground Journey with Afghan Refugees. 


Masuda Sultan is an Afghan-American women’s rights activist and entrepreneur who has been working for over 20 years in support of women and girls in education, vocational training, and protection from violence.


Show notes:

Afghanistan: Nearly 20 million going hungry” (UN News, May 9, 2022)

The Naked Don't Fear the Water: An Underground Journey with Afghan Refugees (Matthieu Aikins, February 22, 2022)