UN urges world to halt worsening Afghanistan crisis - GulfToday

UN urges world to halt worsening Afghanistan crisis


An Afghan woman holds her child as she and others wait to receive package outside a distribution centre in Kabul. Reuters

The United Nations is seeking $4.4 billion for Afghanistan at an international virtual event on Thursday in the largest humanitarian appeal launched for a single country even as concerns mount over Taliban rule.

The Taliban seized power in Afghanistan on August 15 amid the hasty withdrawal of US-led foreign forces, and the country's humanitarian crisis has rapidly worsened since.


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"Afghans need our help in enabling their economy, sustaining their agriculture and enabling the basic functioning of social services," UN aid chief Martin Griffiths told a news briefing ahead of the event co-hosted with Britain, Germany and Qatar.

The UN says funds under the appeal — three times the amount requested in 2021 and only 13% funded so far — go directly to aid agencies and none are channelled through the de facto authorities who swept to power as the last US troops withdrew.

Displaced Afghan women wait to receive aid outside a distribution centre in Kabul, Afghanistan. Reuters

The donor conference comes a week after the hardliners closed down girls' schools, to widespread international dismay, despite promising a softer version of their previous harsh regime, from 1996 until 2001.

While condemning the closures, the UN, Britain, Germany and Qatar, which are co-hosting the virtual pledging event, insisted the international community must not abandon the Afghan people, with 60 percent of the population needing aid to stay afloat.

And they also urged donors not to fall into the trap of neglecting the crisis in Afghanistan while seized by Russia's war in Ukraine.

"Ukraine is of vital importance but Afghanistan calls to our soul for commitment and loyalty," UN humanitarian coordinator Martin Griffiths told reporters, speaking from Kabul.

In a sign that recent Taliban moves on human rights and inclusivity may directly impact willingness to help the group, the United States cancelled meetings with them in Qatar after the movement reversed a decision on girls returning to high school study.

"We want to see those prohibitions, those constraints removed. I hope it will not mean that the pledges that we have from this conference are limited by that because I can tell you that there are efforts ongoing," Griffiths said.

Ahead of the drive, Britain pledged 286 million pounds ($374 million) for Afghanistan, where six out of every 10 Afghans need aid, much of it food, amid an economic crisis worsened by a financial aid cutoff following the Taliban takeover in August.


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