International community announces over $1.2 billion in aid for Afghanistan humanitarian crisis

International community announces over $1.2 billion in aid for Afghanistan humanitarian crisis

The international community has announced over USD 1.2 billion in aid for the Afghanistan humanitarian crisis, with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres underlining the importance to engage with the Taliban to ensure continued humanitarian assistance in the country and address other concerns, including terrorism, human rights and the nature of the government.

The United Nations on Monday convened a high-level ministerial event in Geneva on the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan to highlight the acute needs in the country and underscore the urgent funding support and actions required by international partners to support the people of Afghanistan.

UN agencies and non-governmental partners launched a flash appeal seeking USD 606 million for the remainder of the year to bring vital relief to 11 million people in the war-torn nation.

In his closing remarks to the meeting, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths said more than USD 1.2 billion in humanitarian and development aid had been announced by “very generous member states” for the Afghanistan humanitarian crisis. This includes funding for the flash appeal as well as for the regional response.

“This conference has fully met my expectations in relation to the solidarity with the people of Afghanistan,” Guterres said at a press conference.

“Considering the flash appeal, considering the support to neighbouring countries and other programmes that several countries mentioned, today we already heard clearly more than USD 1 billion of pledges. It is impossible, as I said, to say how much of these will be for the flash appeal; but in any case, it represents a quantum leap in relation to the financial commitment of the international community towards the Afghan people,” he said.

The UN chief emphasised that “it is impossible to provide” humanitarian assistance inside Afghanistan “without engaging with the de facto authorities of the country”.

“It is very important to engage with the Taliban at the present moment for all aspects that concern the international community, be it about terrorism, be it about human rights, be it about drugs, be it about the nature of the government; our attitude is to engage,” he said.

Guterres said as the “tragic events” unfolded in Afghanistan following the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul last month, including the “mass exodus, the chaos at the airport, the situation of panic that was shown by all televisions around the world”, he decided that the UN should stay in the country and deliver, with all the difficulties and all the unpredictable aspects of the future. PTI

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