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Afghanistan's 97% of the population teeters on the brink of universal poverty by mid 2022, according to United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The UNDP said that country is at risk of sinking below the poverty line unless a quick response to its economic and political crises gets launched.

The UN body projected that Afghanistan's real GDP could contract by as much as 13.2%, leading to an increase in the poverty rate of up to 25 percentage points.

“We are facing a full-on development collapse on top of humanitarian and economic crises," said Kanni Wignaraja, UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Director of the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific.

In addition to a prolonged drought and the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, Afghanistan is contending with the upheaval caused by the current political transition: frozen foreign reserves, collapsing public finances, increasing pressure on the banking system, and rising poverty.

As a result, the UNDP has proposed to help improve the immediate living conditions of the most vulnerable people and communities, prioritising safeguarding women and girls' rights.

The package focuses on essential services, local livelihoods, basic income, and small infrastructure.

The UNDP said that the most vulnerable would benefit from a cash-for-work scheme, grants for small and medium enterprises, especially women-run businesses. Children, people with disabilities, and elderly citizens would receive temporary basic income through monthly cash transfers.

Afghanistan is going through one of its biggest-ever crises after the Taliban seized power last month.

The insurgents stormed across the country, capturing all major cities in a matter of days, as Afghan security forces trained and equipped by the US and its allies melted away.

Now, the Taliban has formed its government assurancing they would protect women's rights and resume the functioning of schools and colleges.

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