The UN requested a record amount of $ 5 billion to fund the aid needed this year to secure the future of Afghanistan, which is on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe.
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U.S – whose accelerated withdrawal of military aid precipitated the arrival of the Taliban to power – announced a first donation of 308 million dollars. The money will go mainly to food, sanitation and protection against the harsh winter, the US aid agency said in a statement.
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It is an emergency solution, but “the fact is that without (that aid) there will be no future” for Afghanistan, Martin Griffiths, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, warned journalists in Geneva on Monday.
if the country collapses (…) it will see a much more important exodus of people. And this displacement of settlers will be difficult to face inside and outside the region.
The UN plan requires $ 4.4 billion from cooperating countries to finance the humanitarian needs this year, the highest amount requested for a single country, said the entity in a statement.
This amount will provide food and support agriculture, finance health services, treat malnutrition, provide access to water and sanitation, and provide education.
Some 22 million people, more than half of the Afghan population, are in urgent need of help. To this will be added 623 million dollars to help the 5.7 million Afghan refugees in five neighboring countries, mainly Iran and Pakistan.
Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, warned that “if the country collapses (…) we will see a much more important exodus of people. And this displacement of people will be difficult to face inside and outside the region, because it is not going to stay within the region. “
The United States announced a first donation of 308 million dollars destined mainly for food, health and protection against the harsh winter, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) reported in a statement.
The funds raised will not go to the Taliban
Since August, Afghanistan has been under the command of the Taliban, who took power after overthrowing the government supported by the international community and the US military for 20 years.
Sanctions imposed to try to pressure radical Islamists to make concessions, especially on women’s rights, plunged the country into a severe economic crisis, exacerbated by a multi-year drought.
Griffiths insisted that the funds, which represent a quarter of the country’s official GDP, will not go through the taliban and they will be used directly by some 160 NGOs and UN agencies on the ground. The distribution is facilitated by the security situation, which is the best in recent years, according to Griffiths.
The December decision of the Security Council to provide humanitarian aid for a year, together with the gestures of goodwill from Washington, have helped to reassure financial actors, paralyzed by fear of opposing sanctions, which deprives the country of the liquidity necessary for its operation.
Public employees, educators and health personnel have not received a salary for months.
The UN creates a space for dialogue with the Taliban
The international community is looking for an effective way to pressure the Taliban to especially change the way they treat women, now deprived of essential rights achieved during 20 years of struggle.
For this reason, Grandi explained that the UN aid “also creates a space for dialogue with the Taliban that is very valuable.” “Our colleagues on the ground speak to them every day, they certainly speak of access, deliveries, needs, but they also speak of women at work, of girls in schools, of minority rights,” he insisted.
“It is a space that we must preserve,” Grandi added, recognizing that it will take time to “move towards stability and, who knows, maybe a form of normalization.”
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