Kolkata, India: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday urged donors to donate hundreds of millions of dollars for Afghanistan, claiming that the country’s poverty was spiraling out of control and that many people could go hungry by the end of the month, Reuters reported.
They face probably their most perilous hour after decades of war, hardship, and uncertainty, he said in his opening remarks at a Geneva meeting where $606 million is being sought.
The people of Afghanistan are seeing the simultaneous downfall of a whole country, he said.
On Monday, the United Nations urged the international community to donate $606 million to Afghanistan, where poverty and hunger have risen dramatically since the Taliban gained power,
Billions in foreign aid have dried up due to Western mistrust of Islamist extremists.
“The people of Afghanistan are facing the collapse of an entire country — all at once,” the UN boss said.
Guterres predicted that food supplies would be depleted by the end of the month.
Between 1996 and 2001, the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, prohibiting women from working and preventing young girls from attending school.
The regime was deposed in an operation led by the United States, which accused them of hiding terrorists behind the September 11 attacks.
However, they swept back to power in a rapid advance last month, as the last US-led NATO troops withdrew and the Western-backed government’s forces fell away.
Following the abrupt end of assistance disbursements, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas stated that international donors had a “moral obligation” to continue assisting Afghans after a 20-year commitment, Reuters reported.
However, United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet, who was also in Geneva on Monday, accused the Taliban of breaching commitments by ordering women to stay at home, prohibiting teenage girls from attending school, and searching homes for old foes.
China and Pakistan, both neighbors, have already pledged assistance.
Last Monday, Beijing stated that it will send $31 million in food and medical supplies to Afghanistan.
Pakistan forwarded supplies to Kabul, including cooking oil and medicine, and demanded that Afghanistan’s assets be unfrozen.
“Past mistakes must not be repeated. The Afghan people must not be abandoned,” said Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, whose country would most likely bear the brunt of any exodus of refugees.
“Sustained engagement with Afghanistan in meeting its humanitarian needs is essential.”