Senior Taliban officials met in Kabul on Sunday with the U.N. undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs, who promised to maintain assistance for the Afghan people, Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said.
Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, head of the Taliban’s political office and other officials met Martin Griffiths as Afghanistan faces a potentially catastrophic humanitarian crisis caused by severe drought and a collapsing economy.
I met with the leadership of the Taliban to reaffirm @UN’s commitment to deliver impartial humanitarian assistance & protection to millions in need in #Afghanistan. https://t.co/CK0bO7dKhY pic.twitter.com/akB6MxOarg
— Martin Griffiths (@UNReliefChief) September 5, 2021
“The U.N. delegation promised continuation of humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people, saying he would call for further assistance to Afghanistan during the coming meeting of donor countries,” Shaheen said on Twitter.
Afghanistan, one of the poorest countries in the world, has been plunged into crisis by the abrupt end of billions of dollars in foreign aid following the collapse of the Western-backed government and the victory of the Taliban last month.
Shaheen said the Taliban assured the U.N. delegation of “cooperation and provision of needed facilities.”
The United Nations is expected to convene an international aid conference in Geneva on Sept. 13 to help avert what U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called a “looming humanitarian catastrophe”.
“The conference will advocate for a swift scale-up in funding so the lifesaving humanitarian operation can continue, and appeal for full and unimpeded humanitarian access to make sure Afghans continue to get the essential services they need,” he said in a statement.
He said development gains must also be protected in the country and that the rights of women were an “essential” part of Afghanistan’s future stability.
Even before the Taliban victory, Afghanistan was heavily aid-dependent — with 40 per cent of the country’s GDP drawn from foreign funding.
The UN has warned 18 million people are facing a humanitarian disaster, and another 18 million could quickly join them.
Reuter with additional input by GVS News Desk