UN requires $ 600 million in flash enchantment for Afghanistan: NPR

Taliban members lay down their arms as they pray in a mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan on Sunday September 12, 2021. Felipe Dana / AP

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Felipe Dana / AP

Taliban members lay down their arms as they pray in a mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan on Sunday, September 12, 2021.

Felipe Dana / AP

GENEVA (AP) – The United Nations are holding a high-level donor conference on Monday to collect emergency funds for Afghanistan after the Taliban took over the country last month, which stunned the world.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres led the world body’s call for more than $ 600 million for the remainder of this year in a “flash appeal” to Afghans after their country’s government was overthrown by the Taliban and the US and NATO forces had left the 20-year war in a chaotic awakening.

There are concerns that instability and reversed humanitarian efforts, compounded by a prolonged drought, could endanger lives and plunge Afghanistan into famine.

The conference will test some Western governments and other big traditional UN donors who want to help everyday Afghans without handing a PR victory or cash to the Taliban, who swiftly ousted the internationally-backed government.

The UN says “recent developments” have increased the vulnerability of Afghans, who have suffered deprivation and violence for decades. A severe drought threatens the upcoming harvest and hunger increases. The United Nations World Food Program is said to be a major beneficiary of the funds raised during the conference on Monday.

Together with its partners, the UN is looking for US $ 606 million for the remainder of the year to help 11 million people.

At the same time as the conference on Monday in Geneva, the head of the UN refugee agency Filippo Grandi paid a previously unannounced visit to Kabul. He wrote on Twitter that he would assess the humanitarian needs and situation of 3.5 million displaced Afghans – including over 500,000 displaced this year alone.

UNHCR officials have raised concerns that some people may seek refuge in traditional refuges for refugee Afghans in neighboring Pakistan and Iran, both of which have large populations of Afghans who previously fled their country from war and violence.

The Taliban seized power on August 15, the day they overran Kabul after capturing remote provinces in a lightning campaign. They initially promised inclusiveness and a general amnesty for former opponents, but many Afghans are still very afraid of the new rulers. Taliban police have beaten Afghan journalists, forcibly dispersed women’s protests and formed an all-male government, despite originally saying they would invite wider representation.

The world has been watching closely how Afghanistan, under a Taliban government, might differ from when the Islamic militants were in power in the late 1990s. During this time, the Taliban imposed strict rules for their interpretation of Islamic law. Girls and women were denied education and excluded from public life.

Also on Monday, a Pakistan International Airlines plane chartered by the World Bank landed at Kabul airport to evacuate more people, said Abullah Hafeez Khan, a spokesman for the airline. Pakistan has suspended commercial flights to Kabul for security reasons and the airline has no plans to resume commercial flights so far.

Last Thursday, an estimated 200 foreigners, including Americans, left Afghanistan in cooperation with the Taliban on a Qatar Airways flight from Kabul – the first such large-scale departure since the frantic withdrawal of US forces on August 30.

Many thousands of Afghans also want to get out, for fear of the Taliban rule. The Taliban have repeatedly stated that foreigners and Afghans can leave the country with proper travel documents. But their assurances were received with skepticism and many Afghans were unable to obtain certain papers.

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