How U.S. sanctions are driving Afghanistan to famine

American sanctions almost never achieve their stated goals, but they do harm innocent civilians

Famine in Afghanistan.
(Image credit: Illustrated | Getty Images, iStock)

Afghanistan is starving. The country's economy has collapsed, a bitter winter has taken hold, and half the population doesn't have enough to eat. Already many have died — and it could get much, much worse. UNICEF estimates 1 million children could perish over the next few months without sufficient humanitarian aid, roughly four times the number of deaths caused by the entire 20-year American occupation.

The approaching famine is not only a fluke of bad weather or poor agriculture. It is being caused by the United States' economic sanctions against the Taliban, which now rules Afghanistan. Despite the recent announcement of another round of humanitarian aid for Afghanistan, the bulk of U.S. sanctions will remain. They're the latest example of America's brainless addiction to punitive sanctions regimes that virtually never achieve the desired effect and too often inflict pointless suffering on innocents.

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