Afghanistan: UN chief discusses results of humanitarian aid

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11 October 2021

United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres discussed the challenges and overall results of the UN response to the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan 

Guterres, when interviewed by journalists in New York in view of the incoming G20 meeting, presented an overall positive outcome of the massive UN operation in the region. The UN chief ensured that, while facing an extremely complex geopolitical situation, the UN’s humanitarian aid won’t forsake the people of Afghanistan in their time of need.
When discussing the achievement made in September, The UN chief presented the following results: “More than 3.8 million people received food assistance; 21,000 children and 10,000 women received treatment for acute malnutrition, and 32,000 people received non-food items. Besides that, around 450,000 people were reached with primary and secondary healthcare; 160,000 farmers and herders with livelihood support, and 12,000 people with emergency mental health support.” The first week of October was also a reported success, with simultaneous food distribution operations in the largest cities of the country. Regarding the “COVID-19” pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) opened two new labs, and efforts were made to reach families living in more secluded locations. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) provided livestock protection kits and veterinary support to safeguard the livestock-based livelihoods. Moreover, Guterres praised the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) for providing emergency reproductive health kits to more than 3100 women.

The international community and the Taliban will have to address several variables regarding the Afghanistan crisis, for instance, the issue of the recognition of the government, the sanctions, or the frozen assets. When asked about the Afghanistan economic crisis and the possibility of international recognition of the Taliban government, Guterres specified that any financial aid aimed at introducing cash into Afghanistan’s economy will be allocated through trust funds created by the World Bank (WB) or the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). “We need to make the economy breathe and allow people to survive.”

Increased cooperation between the UN and the Taliban has resulted in a lower number of incidents in humanitarian operations. However, it is the Taliban’s responsibility to uphold the promises made in terms of human rights. In this regard, the UN chief particularly stressed the importance of safeguarding the rights of women and girls in the region.

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Author: Arianna Previtera

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