KABUL: The situation in Afghanistan could become the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, the UN said on Saturday, a day after the country’s Taliban government urged the international community to urgently release a $ 1.2 billion package, which was pledged by the group of 20 major economies.
Afghanistan plunged into economic crisis when the West-backed government collapsed in mid-August and fled the country when the Taliban took control.
Afghanistan’s permanent representative-designate to the United Nations and former Taliban spokesman, Suhail Shaheen, in a series of tweets on Friday appealed to the international community to urgently disbursing the aid package as the harsher winter months approached.
As the world community faces the difficult decision of how aid should reach the Afghan people without recognizing a Taliban government, Shaheen said they are “ready to cooperate fully through designated organizations.”
The UN Bureau for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs told Arab News on Saturday that it was trying to provide aid to about half of the country’s population.
“The humanitarian needs in Afghanistan are increasing and the country is on the verge of becoming the world’s worst humanitarian crisis,” said Linda Tom, OCHA spokeswoman in Kabul.
“At the beginning of the year, 18 million people were dependent on help due to decades of conflict, drought and the economic consequences of COVID-19,” she said. “As winter approaches, humanitarian communities, both the UN and NGOs, are working to reach 9 million people with winter aid.”
Tom added that funding for the humanitarian community needed to continue as it was important to provide relief to the people before winter, but so far the UN Secretary-General’s appeal last month for more than $ 600 million in a ” Blitzappell âfor Afghans was only partially answered.
“The humanitarian appeal for Afghanistan is $ 606 million, but we have only received less than half,” she said.
When Shaheen renewed his government’s call for the country’s currency reserves to be lifted in his tweets on Friday, some economists in Kabul said it was key to averting the spreading crisis.
âThe world must first thaw Afghanistan’s foreign assets; This will help the Afghan people cope with the current crisis, âan economist, Hamidullah Mofid, told Arab News.
After the Taliban captured Kabul on August 15, the US frozen $ 10 billion of the country’s central bank assets.
âThe economic situation in Afghanistan is fragile, a new wave of crises threatens the people and puts them in danger. According to United Nations statistics, around 18 million Afghan citizens are in extreme danger, âhe said. “The international community must continue its humanitarian aid, especially the new commitments it has made.”