On Sunday 15th August the Afghan capital, Kabul, fell to Taliban forces. The militant group had been seizing territory for weeks following the final withdrawal of US and Western forces. A refugee crisis is unfolding, so can an Afghanistan NFT fund help?
The idea is the brainchild of Jack Butcher, founder of New York-based graphic design agency Visualize Value. Run in partnership with the humanitarian charity Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE), the aim is to provide aid packages to displaced families.
Those interested can buy a package for just 0.03ETH, around $84. It’s also possible to buy a bundle, priced at 0.28 ETH – roughly $837. In exchange for paying to send vital supplies to those in need, donors will receive a care package NFT to keep.
Wait, What’s Happening in Afghanistan?
If you’ve been living under a rock this past week then the news coming out of Afghanistan may have passed you by unnoticed. In 2001, the country was subject to a US-led invasion triggered by the September 11 attacks. The US invaded under the premise that the ultra-conservative Islamic group the Taliban, provided sanctuary to Al-Qaeda. The latter had claimed responsibility for the September 11 atrocity.
What followed was two decades of instability in Afghanistan following the regime change. According to Associated Press, the true cost of this is staggering. 3,846 US soldiers were killed, and a further 66,000 Afghan national military and police lost their lives. 1,144 allied troops also perished, alongside 47,245 civilians. In monetary terms, the price is now close to $2trillion.
Last month, US President Joe Biden announced that the remaining US troops would be pulled out of the country no later than 11th September 2021. This followed a lengthy period of winding down activity in the country, preparing Afghan forces to take back full control. However, in a matter of weeks Taliban fighters, outnumbered by the Afghan army by more than 3-1, raised their flag in the capital, Kabul.
Do We Need the Afghanistan NFT Fund?
In a word: Yes. Images coming out of Afghanistan this week have been harrowing, to say the least. People clinging on to the undercarriages of planes and Kabul airport being overrun echoed scenes of the US withdrawal from Vietnam in 1975.
This also shows just how fearful people are of the Taliban taking back control. For some, this comes down to the danger of reprisals against them and their family. Others are simply trying to get away from a notoriously oppressive regime. Putting things into context, the Afghanistan NFT fund has so far raised $90,000, which is enough to support 1,000 families for one month.
According to the United Nations, around 18million Afghan people currently need assistance, and one in three children will be severely malnourished this year. Each package is designed to feed, water, and provide shelter to the recipient family, with proceeds going directly to CARE.
What is the Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE)?
CARE is an international humanitarian organisation working to end global poverty and hunger. It is active in more than 100 countries and has helped an estimated 90million people through 1,300 projects in the last year alone. It was founded in 1945 as the Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe as part of the post-Second World War effort to provide aid to the continent.
Humanitarian causes and NFTs are logical bedfellows thanks to the high-value many projects reach and easy contractual side to tokens. We have seen a number of charitable drops this year already. NFT-backed novels auctioned by Nelson Mandela’s Grandson; Blankos Block Party‘s Pride fundraiser, and Steve Harvey‘s comedy tokens are just three examples.