UN targets to raise more than $600 Million for Afghanistan at the donor conference


An Afghan man brings his household items to sell in the local market in Kabul on September 10. Afghans who plan to flee the country or are in need of cash to buy groceries and food resort to selling their household items. (Stinger/EPA-EFE)

After warning of a potential humanitarian disaster in Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover, the United Nations holds an aid conference on September 13 to gather more than $600 million for the country.

The conference in Geneva is expected to draw UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, other top UN officials, and some 40 ministers. Other officials are likely to participate via the internet.

According to the UN, half of Afghanistan's population depended on help even before the Taliban seized Kabul last month. According to UN officials and relief organizations, drought and cash and food shortages are threatening to exacerbate the situation.

"It's now a race against time and the snow to deliver life-saving assistance to the Afghan people who need it most," said Anthea Webb, Deputy Regional Director of the World Food Program (WFP). "We are quite literally begging and borrowing to avoid food stocks running out."

On September 12, UN Refugee Commissioner Filippo Grandi warned that a "resurgence of fighting, human rights violations, or the collapse of the economy and basic social services" could lead to many Afghans fleeing other countries.

The UN, which found that 93 percent of the 1,600 Afghans it surveyed in August and September were not eating enough food, largely because they couldn't get cash to pay for it, would spend around a third of the $606 million sought.

Measures to support women and children and education projects would be included in the funding. It might also be used to fund emergency shelters for the estimated 3.5 million internally displaced persons in the country.

Another UN organization, the World Health Organization, is looking for money to help hundreds of health facilities on the verge of closing due to a lack of funds.
Many countries are prepared to offer humanitarian relief, but many are concerned about using it under the Taliban and believe that donations should come with conditions.

Last week, Guterres said at a press conference that the international community must "find ways to avoid a situation that would be catastrophic for the people and, in my opinion, a source of instability and a...gift for terrorist groups still operating. There."

The UN chief's comments come after Deborah Lyons, the UN's special envoy for Afghanistan, warned that blocking Afghan assets to keep them out of the hands of the Taliban would eventually cause economic problems.

Since the Taliban took power last month, much of the Afghan central bank's $10 billion in international assets has been blocked.

On September 9, Lyons informed the United Nations Security Council that the Taliban should be given a chance by allowing money to flow into the nation to prevent the country's economic and social order from collapsing.

Publish : 2021-09-13 11:45:00

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