Pearl Jam, Tom Morello + More Urge U.S. Interaction in Afghan Humanitarian Crisis
The U.S. may have withdrawn military forces from Afghanistan earlier this year, but there remain concerns about the well being of the country's inhabitants by a number of humanitarian groups and concerned artists, including the members of Pearl Jam and Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, who are seeking a government assist for those in need.
The band and the guitarist have joined Painted Shield, Grouplove, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Josh Klinghoffer and actors Amanda Seyfried and Thomas Sadoski as well as Pearl Jam's Vitalogy Foundation and the organizations Alliance for Peacebuilding, CARE USA, Catholic Relief Services, International Rescue Committee, InterAction, Norwegian Refugee Council USA, Save the Children USA, War Child USA and World Vision US in a new campaign to shine a spotlight on the food insecurity crisis in Afghanistan and calling for government assistance.
The artists and organization have penned an open letter, viewed below, in which they share their concerns and call for action.
This winter, 23 million people—more than half the country—are facing acute food insecurity, including nearly 9 million who are one step away from famine conditions.
According to the United Nations, if no action is taken, up to 131,000 children could die of starvation.
Local and international organizations remain on the ground, committed to delivering lifesaving aid. However, humanitarian assistance is not enough; the U.S. government must take urgent action to address the economic drivers of this crisis. While prices skyrocket, Afghan families cannot access cash to pay for food, medicine, or other basic items. The U.S. and global leaders must facilitate banking access for Afghans and find new ways to support the country’s critical services like hospitals, schools, and utilities.
We cannot let the Afghan people become casualties of the world’s inaction. As winter sets in, tens of millions of lives hang in the balance. Global leaders must do the right thing—before it’s too late.
Alliance for Peacebuilding
Catholic Relief Services
International Rescue Committee
Norwegian Refugee Council USA
Save the Children US
War Child USA
World Vision US
In speaking with Variety, Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready stated, “In seeing the situation in Afghanistan unfold over the last few months, we feel there is a moral urgency to do what we can. For us, it is really trying to bring more attention to what is happening and that there are actions governments can take to prevent millions from starving. Our country has played an outsized role in Afghanistan for decades and we can't look away now just because the military officially withdrew.”
Fellow Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard added, “We have all witnessed how difficult it has been to wind down US involvement in Afghanistan but we can't turn a blind eye now to the millions of families who are bearing the consequences. We have an obligation to support the Afghan people and to ensure our actions don’t make it even harder for them to access food and basic necessities.”
To learn more and to find out how you can donate to help, visit the InterAction website here.