Skip to content
Over $ 1 billion in aid pledged to Afghanistan as country faces “most perilous hour”


Speaking at a high-level ministerial meeting on the crisis in Geneva, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said poverty rates in Afghanistan had skyrocketed since the Taliban takeover on last month, with one in three people unsure of where their next meal would come from and the core audience services are not working.

“The Afghan people need a lifeline. After decades of war, suffering and insecurity, they face perhaps their most perilous hour, ”said Guterres.

The UN had launched an emergency appeal for $ 606 million to meet the country’s most urgent needs, a request that had been “fully met,” Guterres told a press conference.

“Today we already clearly have over $ 1 billion in pledges. It’s impossible to say how many of them will be for the flash call, but in any case, it represents a quantum leap from the “financial commitment of the international community towards the Afghan people”, he declared.

Even before the Taliban returned to power, protracted conflicts, poverty, consecutive droughts, economic decline and the coronavirus pandemic had exacerbated an already dire situation in which 18 million Afghans – nearly half the population – needed the help, UN agencies said. More than half of children under five face acute malnutrition and the fighting has forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes, they added.

As winter approaches, many people could run out of food by the end of the month, the UN chief said.

The World Food Program, which returned aid workers to the capital Kabul on Sunday for the first time since the takeover, said 14 million people were “on the brink of famine.”
Food prices have risen, the price of cooking oil has doubled and 40% of the country’s wheat crop this year has been lost, WFP Executive Director David Beasley said.

Children disproportionately suffer from multiple seizures. Without immediate action, the humanitarian disaster will worsen further and 1 million children are at risk of starving to death, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Already, nearly 10 million girls and boys depend on humanitarian aid to survive.

Meanwhile, Afghan doctors warn of the impending collapse of the health system as hospitals and clinics are under-resourced and health providers see their funding suspended by international donors, according to HealthNet TPO, an NGO that has a network of hospitals and health centers. in the countryside.

“The Afghan people are facing the collapse of an entire country all at once,” Guterres said in his speech.

However, he warned that “humanitarian aid will not solve the problem if the Afghan economy collapses”, which could trigger a “mass exodus” that would threaten the stability of the region.

“My appeal to the international community is to find ways to allow an injection of liquidity into the Afghan economy, allowing the economy to breathe and avoiding a collapse which will have devastating consequences for the Afghan people,” said Guterres.

During his speech, Guterres said the UN had received a letter from the Taliban guaranteeing aid workers safe access to the country. He said it was impossible to provide humanitarian aid inside Afghanistan without engaging with the Taliban.

Over $ 1 billion in aid pledged to Afghanistan as country faces “most perilous hour”

However, one wonders if the Taliban can be trusted and if aid can reach the Afghans in need and not end up in the wrong hands.

UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelat, who also spoke in Geneva on Monday, said the Taliban had already contradicted promises to respect human rights, especially with regard to women and girls .

Women were ordered to stay at home, were prohibited from going out in public without a male chaperone, and women and girls had their access to education limited, girls over 12 years old did not. not having the right to go to school in several areas, she said.

“The country has entered a new perilous phase,” she said. “Contrary to assurances that the Taliban would uphold women’s rights, over the past three weeks women have instead been gradually excluded from the public sphere.”

USAID noted that the environment in Afghanistan will need to be “conducive to principled aid delivery, including the ability for female and male aid workers to operate freely” for aid to be effective. .

CNN’s Sarah Dean and Kylie Atwood contributed.

.