Pearl Jam and Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello are urging action from the U.S. government to address the dire humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, where more than 23 million people are facing what the United Nations calls “acute food insecurity” and near famine-level conditions.
The veteran rock artists have joined fellow musicians Grouplove, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Josh Klinghoffer and Painted Shield as well as Hollywood couple Amanda Seyfried and Thomas Sadoski in an open letter, in tandem with major humanitarian organizations. Their hope is to raise awareness for current conditions in Afghanistan in the wake of the August 2021 withdrawal of American military forces and the Taliban’s subsequent takeover of the country.
“In seeing the situation in Afghanistan unfold over the last few months, we feel there is a moral urgency to do what we can,” Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready tells Variety. “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.”
The letter is co-signed by non-governmental organizations such as 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 U.S.
According to the U.N., more than 100,000 Afghan children could die of starvation without foreign aid, the delivery of which has been compromised due to the collapse of the country’s banking system. “While prices skyrocket, Afghan families cannot access cash to pay for food, medicine or other basic items,” the letter reads. “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,” it continues. “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.”