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Six major humanitarian challenges confronting the UN General Assembly

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 09:15:00 +0000

Hype over what President Donald Trump may or may not say dominated the media build-up to this week’s UN General Assembly. However, US funding cuts and the apparent absence of American authority on key global issues weigh more heavily over world leaders beset by a host of daunting humanitarian challenges.   It’s the first UNGA since Trump was elected president. He’ll make his debut on Monday in hosting a meeting on UN reform, ahead of his maiden speech to the General Assembly on Tuesday. It’s also the first year at the helm for UN Secretary-General António Guterres. His speech opening high-level week on Tuesday will be closely watched, as will his handling of Trump’s US administration.   The US decision on the eve of the General Assembly to halve its diplomatic presence in New York doesn’t augur well for those concerned that US cuts and retreats from international agreements are creating a dangerous vacuum at a time when the General Assembly has so many global crises to address.   Here’s our guide to the major humanitarian issues:   Climate Change   The UNGA is always a vital forum for the world’s developing countries, particularly those facing down climate change. The new General Assembly president, Miroslav Lajcak of Slovenia, identified grappling with it a priority for the UN’s 72nd session. Catastrophic flooding in South Asia and two record-setting hurricanes that recently hit the Caribbean and the southern United States will lend added gravity to sessions this week.   A high-level meeting convened by Lajcak and Guterres on Monday will focus on Hurricane Irma, which ploughed through the Caribbean and into Florida earlier this month. The UN’s regional response plan for the Caribbean calls for $27 million to help up to 265,000 people affected. For the first time in 300 years, no one is left living on Barbuda, according to Antigua and Barbuda’s ambassador to the US.   Notably absent from the expected speakers list are any Americans. Trump this year announced he would pull the US out of the Paris climate agreement, angering world leaders and giving an opening to countries like China to take more of a lead on the issue. After word leaked that the US might be changing its position once more, the White House confirmed on the eve of the UNGA that it still plans to renege unless drastic changes are made. On Tuesday, heads of state will meet for a roundtable on climate change. By then, a new hurricane, Maria, will be running over some of the same Caribbean islands hit by Irma, possibly reaching Hispaniola by the end of the week. NGOs hope that attention will rub off on the sustainable development goals more broadly, with warnings that countries are falling behind.   Famine   More than 20 million people in Somalia, Yemen, South Sudan, and northeastern Nigeria are still at risk of famine, and their lot will be the focus of aid agencies and diplomats. The UN’s just-released State of Food Security report warns that “the long-term declining trend in undernourishment seems to have come to a halt and may have reversed.”   Shortfalls in funding persist across the board, and the aid community will be applying further pressure on donors to follow through on their promises. The week’s main event on famine response and prevention is on Thursday. It will provide an opportunity for some new faces – recently appointed World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley and Mark Lowcock, the new top UN relief official – to set out their stall.   Yemen’s long humanitarian crisis, deepened by years of war, is now considered the world’s most dire: more than 20 million people are in need of assistance; seven million are severely food insecure; two million children are acutely malnourished; the worst cholera outbreak in memory has infected more than 660,000 people and claimed 2,100 lives. There’s no sign the warring parties are any closer to ending the civil war. On Monday, UN, EU and Gulf Cooperation Council representatives will host a closed-door donor coordination meeting; Friday will see[...]



Rohingya exodus puts pressure back on UN rights probe

Wed, 13 Sep 2017 02:55:53 +0000

An unfolding humanitarian emergency along the Myanmar-Bangladesh border is intensifying pressure on the UN to take action, with fears that an unprecedented exodus of Rohingya refugees fleeing a military clampdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine State could amount to ethnic cleansing. A long-delayed UN fact-finding mission to Myanmar is renewing attempts to investigate allegations of serious rights violations, while the UN Security Council is set to hold a meeting on the crisis today after a request from Britain.   Since 25 August, more than 370,000 Rohingya refugees have surged over the conflict-torn Myanmar border into crowded refugee camps in Bangladesh, bringing stories of razed villages, executions, and forced expulsions.   The violence has underscored the urgency of the UN probe. The fact-finding mission was mandated in March by the Human Rights Council to investigate allegations of severe rights violations, particularly in Rakhine State, where the Buddhist majority has badly strained relations with international agencies and aid groups.   “We are working day and night to send a team as soon as it is practically possible to establish the facts,” Marzuki Darusman, an Indonesian lawyer who chairs the three-member team, told IRIN in a statement. "The fact-finding mission is very concerned about the reports coming out on recent developments.”   Calling on the Security Council to hold a “formal discussion” on the issue, Matthew Rycroft, the UK’s UN ambassador, told reporters: “I think it’s a sign of the significant worry that Security Council members have that the situation is continuing to deteriorate for many Rohingya.”   ‘Textbook example of ethnic cleansing' The most recent wave of violence in Rakhine state was sparked after a group of fighters, calling itself the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, attacked police and border posts in Rakhine State on 25 August. It is also accused of killing civilians and blocking Rohingya males from fleeing.   Rights groups say the response from Myanmar’s military has been severely disproportionate; security forces have attacked unarmed civilians, burned down homes, and forced out entire villages, they say.   Myanmar authorities deny committing abuses, claiming instead that Rohingya militants and villagers torched their own homes.   But with Myanmar blocking access to affected parts of Rakhine, allegations of human rights violations – and the government’s own explanations – are difficult to verify.    “Because Myanmar has refused access to human rights investigators, the current situation cannot yet be fully assessed,” the UN’s top rights official, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, said in a statement before the Human Rights Council in Geneva. “But the situation seems a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”   "If you have two sides in a conflict and one feels you are supporting only the other, then you run into problems"   Until now, Myanmar’s government, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, has stonewalled UN monitors, refusing to grant visas to individual members of the fact-finding mission. With the military riding a wave of populist nationalism and elements of the government stoking anti-international resentment, it is unclear whether Myanmar will throw open its doors to a UN inspection.    “The international community can best help by supporting the Myanmar government in its efforts to bring stability, peace, and development in Rakhine State,” the country’s foreign affairs ministry said in a statement.   The UN’s fact-finding mission has renewed its request for access and cooperation following the recent violence, but has yet to receive a reply, said its chairman.   “We retain hope that cooperation will be possible," Darusman said.    A source within the UN previously told IRIN that the mission could try to reach witnesses in Bangladesh, even if access is barred in Myanmar.   Buddhist distrust While Myanmar has blocked the UN fact-finding mission for the last six months, relationships between international aid[...]



Libya's migration crisis is about more than just security

Mon, 11 Sep 2017 14:53:36 +0000

There’s no shortage of news on Libya’s migration crisis, but there is a serious dearth of policy solutions.   Late last month, the International Organization for Migration announced what passes for good news at the moment: no deaths on the Mediterranean for 20 days. This followed reports, later denied, that Italy had been paying militias to prevent people from leaving Libya’s shores.   But the risk of drowning is far from the only danger facing migrants attempting the central Mediterranean route into Europe. Migrants are subject to arbitrary detention, arrest, harassment, bonded labour, slavery, and sexual exploitation.   And even as drowning numbers are down, IOM says there has been an increase in trafficking rather than smuggling on the central Mediterranean route – the former distinguished by the coercion and extortion that continues after arrival at the destination. This trend is partly because fewer Syrians (and migrants in general) are making the journey, so those plying the route are seeking ways to keep profits up – sub-Saharan African women appear to be paying a horrible price in this shift, finding themselves forced into the sex industry in greater numbers.   Human rights groups, humanitarians, and governments are naturally concerned, but some rights advocates feel the anti-trafficking policies of the European Union and others are more aimed at stopping migration entirely.   “The war on traffickers has been something that – time and time again – when politicians find themselves with the backs to the wall, they reach to,” Mark Micallef, a specialist researcher on the subject at the Global Initiative Against Transnational and Organized Crime, told IRIN.   Fighting trafficking or fighting migration?   The EU’s Operation Sophia, which aims to disrupt the business model of human smuggling and trafficking networks, in part by taking apart the boats themselves, has come under fire for muddling the fight on traffickers and smugglers with stopping migration altogether.   “Trying to stop slavery at the point of destroying boats in the middle of the Mediterranean doesn’t actually help people,” Claire Seaward, humanitarian campaign and advocacy manager at Oxfam, told IRIN. “As we are seeing, migrants will just use different types of boats. They used to be on large wooden boats and now they are on inflatable dinghies."   Tim Eaton, a research fellow with the Middle East and North Africa programme at Chatham House, believes one of Operation Sophia’s major flaws is looking at migration – and migrants – through a one-dimensional lens, when it’s really about so much more, like economics and hope. “On a policy level, the problem comes when you look at this solely as a security problem,” Eaton told IRIN. Disposable Africans - migration and its consequences Securing borders and clamping down on criminals including traffickers may be useful in some respects, but it won’t stop desperate migrants from coming, nor does it take into account the dangers they face while inside Libya.   Limited options   But there don’t seem to be a whole lot of viable alternatives, especially when many parts of Libya are so dangerous it’s impractical to put aid workers on the ground.   Where NGOs can help is in assisting suspected trafficking victims and training law enforcement officers and emergency responders. Annemarie Loof, operations manager at Médecins Sans Frontières, said the charity gives “[migrants in Libya] a telephone number they can call anywhere from Europe. We talk to them about trafficking and the sex industry. We flag it to the [Italian] authorities.”   Izabella Cooper, spokeswoman for EU border agency Frontex, said it has trained staff to recognise signs of people-trafficking on the ships it deploys as part of Operation Triton, the EU naval mission that backstops Italy’s own rescue operations. “In many cases these girls do not know they are being trafficked,” Cooper told IRIN. “Many of these girls have no[...]



Innovative but dull: disaster insurance is starting to pay off

Mon, 11 Sep 2017 11:29:54 +0000

Hurricanes and an earthquake have caused havoc across the Caribbean and Mexico. Lives, livelihoods, roads, buildings, and infrastructure will need repair. But in the wake of these disasters, there is some surprisingly good news: Millions of dollars of relief finance are already being paid without fuss, social media campaigns, or photo-ops. What is this remarkable “innovation”? The answer is dull: it’s insurance. This year, this hurricane season, we are beginning to see the benefits of pre-arranged disaster response financing. One of the key problems with responding to these disasters traditionally has been that too often there are few incentives to be prepared, or to plan how to respond. There is often ambiguity about “who owns the risk” – who needs to act and who needs to pay for it. In an immediate crisis, governments simply have to respond with what they have to save lives and protect citizens and infrastructure. But soon afterwards, recovery will need to start, and then the question will emerge: who will pay for what: local or national governments, international partners, families or firms? And where will the resources come from? "Who owns the risk?" Typically, without clarity on who will be responsible for what, and what to prioritise, recovery plans are usually just glossy reports on a dusty shelf, and funding arrangements just left for later. In poorer countries, this is about relying on what others give in response to appeals – and that’s typically less than half than what is asked for. Only then, the scramble over these resources begins. This was shown in 2015, when more than $4.1 billion was raised after the earthquake in Nepal for recovery, but it took until seven months after the quake before a political agreement was reached on how to use the recovery fund. In better-off countries, we see squabbles between central and local governments, scrambling to reallocate budgets, and expectations of citizens that government will bail them out. This similarly stifles recovery efforts and their effectiveness. Pre-agreed financing – such as sovereign parametric insurance, risk pools, or catastrophe bonds – provide incentives to change this: It forces governments to accept the risk, and clarify what they will do and won’t do when disasters strike. Some definitions: Sovereign parametric insurance is where a premium is paid beforehand by a government and payouts are obtained based on an objective trigger, or parameter, such as wind speed or the Richter scale for earthquakes. A sovereign risk pool works in the same way, but countries jointly own the insurance company. In a catastrophe bond, capital is paid in by private investors, who get a return each year, but they lose the capital when a disaster strikes, otherwise the capital will be returned after a pre-agreed length of time. As they are based on easily observable features, these products can get resources quickly transferred into the hands of whoever is considered to own the risk in a country, typically the central government. Many of the affected countries in the Caribbean as well as Mexico had invested in these kind of products, mostly with clear rules on how to use the funds: paying for insurance forces you to think about what to insure. It gives hope that early recovery can be handled sensibly and effectively, without the usual political and media circus. In Mexico, for example, the Fund for Natural Disasters (FONDEN) operates as a budgetary mechanism that makes sure that finance is in place for rebuilding infrastructure after earthquakes and other disasters, using pre-agreed rules across different layers of government, protected by a budget line, reinsurance, and catastrophe bond. This week’s earthquake will trigger a release of funds by FONDEN, which should make the early rebuilding of key infrastructure possible, without excessive drains on public resources. Early reports suggest that the catastrophe bond (the IBRD/FONDEN 2017) will most likely be[...]



Development deficit feeds Boko Haram in northern Cameroon

Wed, 06 Sep 2017 12:48:20 +0000

One of the main reasons Boko Haram has been able to gain a foothold and recruit thousands of young people in the Far North Region of Cameroon is its relative lack of development and employment opportunities. Since Boko Haram began to launch attacks in northern Cameroon in 2014, more than 2,000 people have been killed and at least 155,000 forced to flee their homes. While the Far North Region has always been poorer than most of the rest of the country, it until recently boasted a vibrant cross-border livestock trade and a burgeoning tourism industry. The onset of conflict led to the closure of the Nigerian border, slashed the price of cattle in half, scared tourists off, and, because of large-scale displacement, badly affected agricultural productivity. The government’s failure to make good on promises to boost development as a way to deter people from joining the insurgency risks perpetuating instability in the north, experts say. “People are disappointed,” a researcher at the University of Maroua, the main town in the Far North Region, told IRIN, referring to the glacial pace of change. He asked not to be identified by name for fear of repercussions resulting from criticising the government. Projects supposedly underway include: a 78.9 billion CFA franc ($143 million) territorial development programme announced in 2014 for the three regions in the north of the country; a three-year national emergency plan unveiled in 2015 with a budget of 925 billion CFA francs of which just 42 billion francs was earmarked for the Far North Region; a 5.3 billion CFA franc plan to rebuild schools and hospitals in the region, also unveiled in 2015; and a 102 billion CFA franc project targeting young people across the country, announced by President Paul Biya in December 2016. Aside from a few new classrooms, feasibility studies, surveys and some construction material for road projects, and the arrival in Maroua of several contractors, there’s little evidence of progress. “Sometimes people just say things to calm things down,” the researcher said. “In the long term, this can only radicalise people – as they understand that the promises were just tricks – not necessarily to [join] Boko Haram but to oppose the government.” Boko Haram had already established logistics bases and begun recruiting in the Far North Region in 2011, gathering “support among disaffected youth… through the use of ideological indoctrination, socio-economic incentives and coercion,” the International Crisis Group said in a report published last November. While the government has enjoyed significant military successes against Boko Haram, “the weak point of Cameroon’s response remains the lack of commitment to development initiatives” as well as a lack of counter- and de-radicalisation programmes, the report said. “Poverty, low levels of literacy and school attendance pushed people to join Boko Haram. They became easy prey. It was just a like a job for them,” Ariel Ngnitedem, an economist and lecturer at the University of Yaounde II Soa, told IRIN, adding that young will remain vulnerable to recruitment if the government fails to deliver. “[The] government has been promising to offer more than Boko Haram,” Ngnitedem said. “If it fails, the youth will likely join any other radical groups that may emerge after Boko Haram is conquered. The youth fighting for Boko Haram have no political agenda.” Stalled projects According to a recent evaluation conducted by a monitoring committee, local contractors in the Far North Region failed to deliver 50 construction projects awarded to them in 2016 and in the first quarter of 2017. “Projects are awarded through tenders,” explained the university researcher. But “the bidding process is not often transparent and projects are awarded to companies that lack the capabilities to execute them.” The follow-up committee, headed by a local MP, Zondol Hersesse, met in July and found[...]



Hurricane versus Monsoon

Tue, 29 Aug 2017 17:01:34 +0000

US media last week mentioned Hurricane Harvey at least 100 times more than India. Outside the United States, media produced three times more about Texan flooding than Asia's in recent days. Monsoon floods on the other side of the world are worse than Harvey, but aid agencies say America's crisis is sucking up all the attention. Using open data, IRIN has quantified the relative online news coverage and found yawning gaps.  It is important to note that headlines and news coverage are only part of the picture. Fundraisers know that some things will always resonate more with the public and studies show that donors are motivated by far more than just media. Academics differ on how much influence the "CNN effect" really has on international aid funding. However, based on previous experience, Harvey will generate a huge outpouring of public donations at home, while faraway crises have to fight harder for attention and money.  Alison Carlman of GlobalGiving, an agency that fundraises for many often smaller non-profits and mostly in the United States, put it like this: "We're raising money for both floods. South Asian flood orgs have raised just over $12K. Our Harvey Fund is at $1.69M now. The Sierra Leone mudslides have raised $55K." This month, the South Asian floods have hit India, Bangladesh, and Nepal, which are facing exceptional weather and massive humanitarian impacts. Floods across the three countries have affected some 41 million people (That's about 10 times the total population of Metro Houston), according to the UN. In Asia, some 1,200 deaths are reported. In the United States, the death toll is slowly rising and currently stands at 38.  Data GDELT, a huge database of online news from around the world, automatically tags articles with their topics and geographic focus. Of about 30 million stories it scanned, some 200,000 covered natural disasters so far this month.  The GDELT data can help answer the question: How much attention have the Asian and American floods got at home and abroad? First we compared coverage of India, Bangladesh, and Nepal with coverage of the state of Texas. Not surprisingly, US media shows an explosion of coverage since Harvey emerged. The level of coverage of the Asian disasters is so much smaller it is almost insignificant by comparison.  According to this data, at its peak, Texas coverage in the US is about 160 times that of the Asian flooding.   allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="600" id="datawrapper-chart-oJ5xf" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" scrolling="no" src="//datawrapper.dwcdn.net/oJ5xf/1/" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="100%"> Another database, MediaCloud, counts the number of words in articles produced by a range of US media. We searched the last week of news in US media for the word "flooding" and looked at the word counts. The graphic below represents how many times the top 500 words appear. The word "Houston" appears 100 times more than "India".         bp/ag   GoogleHarveyButton.png News Solutions and Innovations Aid and Policy Environment and Disasters Google’s surprising choice for Hurricane Harvey donations Ben Parker IRIN GENEVA United States [...]



Same old problems for Kenya’s newest refugee settlement

Tue, 29 Aug 2017 16:35:18 +0000

Kalobeyei was supposed to be different. Refugees here would be self-reliant. They would be integrated with the local community in a mutually beneficial arrangement of shared services and bustling markets. And it would all cost a lot less for Western aid donors.   But it hasn’t quite worked as planned.   Kalobeyei, in Kenya’s remote northwest, was built to decongest nearby Kakuma camp and attract the more entrepreneurially-minded refugees who could take advantage of the tiny plots of land on offer and trade with the local community.   The World Food Programme provides a $14 monthly cash allowance to each refugee*, which it says is enough to cover 80 percent of minimum needs. The 40,000 refugees are expected to supplement that stipend.   The problem is that Kalobeyei was established just as South Sudan’s civil war intensified. With Kakuma full, people have been arriving in Kalobeyei with little more than the clothes on their backs – and without the resources to make a go of it.   Jean-Marie Shamalima, who fled Burundi’s brutal civil war last year, is the kind of refugee Kalobeyei was designed to accommodate.   Beside his shack, constructed out of tarpaulin and corrugated iron, are rows of okra, beans, and spinach growing in a small sunken bed. It’s an incongruous sight in the middle of the arid Turkana region.   He arrived when the settlement opened, and his seeds were among the few possessions he brought with him.   Integration   Kalobeyei, built by the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, in conjunction with the local Turkana county government is an “integrated settlement”. That means it aims to provide economic benefits and services to host and refugee communities alike, including schools, hospitals, and marketplaces where Shamalima can sell his produce.   "It was difficult when we first arrived. There wasn't a lot of water available. But now things are improving and I'm growing lots of different vegetables," Shamalima said, gesturing proudly to his five-by-six-metre plot.   “I sell my spinach and okra in the market place,” he explained. “It provides me with an extra income so that I can buy clothes and seeds to grow more crops to sell.”   But even he struggles to make ends meet.   For other refugees it’s harder still. A 20-kilo bag of just maize flour, the staple carbohydrate – enough to last a family of five for a month – costs around $9 and one litre of oil is $2.50. Then there's all the other ingredients that go into a meal, plus the charcoal to cook the food, and the WFP allowance becomes increasingly stretched.   “I buy maize, beans, onions and oil with the money I get and it's barely enough for us to eat," South Sudanese refugee Mary Naduru, a mother of four, told IRIN.   Kalobeyei is a new model for Kenya. It is an acknowledgment that Kakuma, and the larger Dadaab camp in the northeast, are outmoded. They are in effect refugee islands sucking up dwindling donor aid.   Although the new looser settlement model doesn’t go as far as neighbouring Uganda, where refugees have free movement, the right to work, and access social services anywhere in the county, Kalobeyei offers a part-solution in a country where the politics of asylum is highly charged.   "The ultimate aim is to make Kalobeyei a self-serving, self-reliant settlement,” Neville Agoro of the Danish Refugee Council told IRIN. “The idea wasn't to make people rely on humanitarian agencies from the start.”   But there is a large wrinkle. “So long as we keep on bringing people who've just arrived from South Sudan, bringing them to Kalobeyei and trying to [introduce] self-reliance is not possible,” he added.   New arrivals get a patch of ground to grow food on, and that’s it – not even seeds and tools or training.   “They just tell us 'this is your house, this is your garden', and then just leave us to get on with it," said Mary Naduru, w[...]



Afghanistan redux, mind your language, and Angola’s First Family

Fri, 25 Aug 2017 12:53:59 +0000

President Joao Lourenco – can he escape “the family”? It’s no surprise, Angola’s next president is going to be Joao Lourenco. The big question is can the party loyalist and former general usher in any real change in Africa’s third largest economy after his electoral victory? Angola has a per capita GDP of $6,800. But, run as a “crony petro-state”, its social indicators are appalling and economy in free-fall. Lourenco has promised to crack down on corruption. Although not known for personally having sticky fingers, he is part of the system. He is the hand-picked successor to José Eduardo dos Santos who has ruled for close to four decades and will remain head of the ruling MPLA party. Dos Santos’s billionaire daughter Isabel heads Sonangol, the state oil company, and his son José Filomeno runs the country’s $5 billion sovereign wealth fund. Lourenco is generally depicted as the candidate for continuity. Yet he will need resources to build his power base, and so the transition may have real impact on the dos Santos family's business interests. The Financial Times suggests the showdown could come with Isabel, whose job “puts her in control of much state revenue”. And the family could fight back. Rebecca Engebretsen writes in African Arguments that President Filipe Nyusi was elected in Mozambique also on an anti-corruption platform, but has since been troubled by leaks connecting him to prominent fraud cases during his time as a minister. What is clear is that change is unlikely to come overnight in Angola. Cameroon’s deepening language divide On a recent visit to Yaoundé, an IRIN journalist was rash enough, over lunch in a modest eatery, to raise Cameroon’s Anglophone crisis with the head of an NGO that works with the country’s youth. When the man suggested the main problem lay not between the restive Anglophone minority and French-speaking majority, but between the Anglophones and President Paul Biya, a women at a neighboring table, who turned out to work in Biya’s office, kicked up an almighty fuss and seemed set to have the man arrested. So sensitive is this 10-month-old crisis which has paralysed education, led to strikes in two English-speaking parts of the country, and seen dozens of activists and even bishops detained pending trial in military courts, that it cannot be discussed in public. Yet it continues to fester. At least six schools were set on fire over the past week, reportedly for failing to stick to a declared education strike. Earlier in the year, markets and government buildings were targeted. The government blames emerging separatist groups. Dialogue is moribund. According the International Crisis Group’s latest report on the issue, “ahead of presidential elections next year, the resurgence of the Anglophone problem could bring instability.” The report added that small secessionist groups that emerged this year are taking advantage of the situation to radicalise the population with support from part of the Anglophone diaspora. While the risk of partition of the country is low, the risk of a resurgence of the problem in the form of armed violence is high, as some groups are now advocating that approach.” A man. A plan. Afghanistan "It was 2 or 3 in the morning. I was woken up by gunfire. It was so loud. There were people screaming. My children were scared. My youngest was only a few months old. We all ran down to the basement. It was the safest place in the house. It was terrifying." So begins Doctor Marzia Salam Yaftali in this BBC Outlook feature linked to US President Donald Trump's announcement that American troops will remain in Afghanistan for the long haul. Doctor Yaftali is describing the situation the last time the Taliban tried to retake their northern former stronghold of Kunduz. It was 2015 and she was the gynaecologist in the city's last public hospita[...]