A rumbling stomach; a heart that aches; an empty pocket and a roof that leaks; mouths to feed and bodies to clothe; these are the most desperate of times. A man at the brink of poverty yet burdened by responsibility has no choice but to take desperate steps. To such a man, taking up arms and resorting to violence is not a question of sanity or honour or even vengeance but a survival instinct. To him, it is a choice, not between vice and virtue rather a matter of life or death. Never does one see a more appropriate representation of spencer’s “survival of the fittest” phenomenon as aptly as in war-torn and poverty-stricken human societies. When all hell breaks loose, chaos erupts, and anarchy dominates, humanity takes a backseat. The harrowing details coming in from Afghanistan indicate a looming humanitarian crisis. According to aid agencies, if this situation continues, over 90 per cent of the population is expected to fall below the poverty line. Every one in three Afghans is sleeping on a hungry stomach. Nearly 75 per cent of Afghanistan’s public expenditure depended on foreign aid and now that it is suddenly bereft of it, the situation is quickly spiralling out of control. The healthcare system is also in a petty state with workers going without pay for months now. The pharmacies are running out of essential medical supplies; leaving the people in extreme distress. The IS-K dreams of spreading their vicious tentacles all over the region. With the harsh winter soon approaching, the miseries of ordinary Afghans will grow exponentially. It is believed that crime and violence experience a surge during the winter months because human needs during that time are more pressing. In Afghanistan’s case, this is a cause of huge concern. There is no denying that the greatest threat to Afghanistan and humanity lurks on Afghan soil in the form of the IS-K. A group blinded by its lust for power and dominance and known for creating bloodbaths wherever they go. To fulfil its violent agenda, the IS-K needs recruits. And they stand to gain the most from the miserable humanitarian crisis engulfing the Afghans. It isn’t difficult to make a starved man join your side willingly with the promise of a mere loaf of bread. And it’s also not difficult to corrupt the minds of hopeless people with violent ideas and seething rage. And for the IS-K, known for using disadvantaged peoples vulnerabilities to their benefit, it’s a task they can handle well. And if their army expands, one can well imagine what it will mean for Afghanistan. The bloody tactics and horrendous brutality exhibited by the group is no secret to the world. Last year’s Kabul maternity hospital attack is just one dreadful tale of how barbaric and vicious the group is. The fact that they can murder little angels who have just stepped into this world for just a show of power, speaks volumes about their bloodthirst. And if they were to gain a footing in Afghanistan that would mean hell for the world at large. Unlike other terrorist groups, the IS-K shares an ideology of dominating large expanses of land far beyond Afghanistan. They dream of spreading their vicious tentacles all over the region. And this is an imminent threat to all the neighbouring countries. Last year, the UN had indicated the presence of many banned splinter terrorist groups operating on Afghan soil. The possibility of them colluding together with IS-K is not farfetched. And if that were to happen, it would spell disaster for the whole region. In Pakistan, we have already seen a spike in TTP attacks in the northern areas. Similarly, China is also threatened by the East Turkmenistan Islamic movement. The insecurity spillover for Iran, a Shia majority country, is also a huge threat since ISIS bears ideological hatred towards the Shia sect and has constantly made them a target of their brutal attacks. This insecurity would be a major threat to regional peace, stability and development. To prevent a situation like this from erupting, the global community needs to cooperate and assist the Afghan people. The first step needed is for funds to reach the Afghans so that the poverty incidence is reduced and the health sector is stabilized. Secondly, to counter the looming threat of IS-K, the world needs the Taliban. After the US evacuation, the Taliban remains the only ruling power in Afghanistan, and, therefore, need to be incentivised by the global community to counter terrorism and maintain peace and stability. Isolating the Taliban at such a vulnerable time is not in the strategic interest of the world. The people of Afghanistan, after decades of war and miseries, deserve peace. And the world needs to help them, not isolate them. The writer is an economist, environmentalist, feminist, animal rights activist and poet.