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The United Nations on Thursday called on the international community to support Afghanistan and end the “death spiral” that threatens the country’s economy, at a donors’ conference. The UN Secretary-General has also expressed alarm over the livelihoods of some Afghans, who “sell their children and parts of their bodies to feed their families.”
The UN is at the helm of Afghanistan. The international organization called on the world on Thursday (March 31st) for financial support for Kabul to break a “death spiral” that threatens its economy.
The United Nations was trying to mobilize $ 4.4 billion (3.9 billion euros) for the Taliban-ruled country since August 2021 and in the midst of economic collapse, during a donors’ conference, co-organized by the United Nations, the United Kingdom. , Germany and Qatar.
The organization expects to triple the amount requested in 2021, in the largest fundraising call ever launched for a single country, while so far it has only obtained 13% of the required amount.
In his opening remarks, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for “immediate action” without which “we face a crisis of hunger and malnutrition in Afghanistan.”
“One million severely malnourished children are on the verge of death,” he warned. Some “already sell their children and body parts to feed their families,” he said.
“Rich and powerful countries cannot ignore the consequences of their decisions”
The Taliban seized power in Afghanistan on August 15, 2021, following the hasty withdrawal of US-led foreign forces. The humanitarian crisis in the country has worsened rapidly.
The UN has been advocating for months for a reduction in Western sanctions imposed on Kabul since the insurgents returned to power. Since August, Washington has frozen nearly $ 9.5 billion from the Afghan central bank.
“Rich and powerful countries cannot ignore the consequences of their decisions on the most vulnerable,” Guterres said. “The international community must find ways to save the Afghan people.”
The Taliban sparked outrage last week by ordering the closure of high schools for girls just hours after allowing them to reopen for the first time since taking power. “There is simply no justification for this discrimination,” Antonio Guterres said.
Despite condemning the closures, the United Nations and the countries co-organizing the conference insisted that the international community must not abandon the Afghan people, 60% of whom depend on international aid.
UN humanitarian coordinator Martin Griffiths has warned that basic services such as health and education are now “on their knees”, while millions of people do not have access to work and loans to survive. % of household expenditure on food. The country is also experiencing its worst drought in decades.
Giving Afghans “hope for the future”
Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesman Majed Al-Ansari said it was important for the Taliban to hear from the Muslim world that “the teachings of Islam do not limit women.”
“We must condemn very strongly and speak very clearly to the Taliban about any human rights violations, but we must not give up on Afghanistan either. We gave up on Afghanistan once and we know what the outcome was,” he added.
The United Kingdom has pledged $ 380 million next year and at least 50% of this aid will go to women and girls.
Majed Al-Ansari said the aim of the conference was to give “hope for the future” to Afghans by uniting to ensure survival and respect for human rights in the country. “Afghanistan can be a lost cause or a beacon of hope,” he said.