Taliban pledge to protect aid workers

(United Nations) At a meeting with the head of humanitarian affairs at the United Nations on Sunday, the Taliban pledged to ensure the safety of aid workers and access to aid in Afghanistan, a UN spokesman said.

Posted on Sep 5, 2021 at 10:00 AM Updated at 5:52 PM

The British Martin Griffiths, United Nations Deputy Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, was in Kabul on Sunday for days of talks with Taliban leaders as the country is threatened by a large-scale humanitarian crisis.

“The authorities are committed to ensuring the safety of humanitarian teams as well as access to humanitarian aid for people in need and the freedom of movement of helpers – men and women,” said UN spokesman Stéphane Dujarric in a statement.

For his part, Mr. Griffiths reaffirmed the humanitarian community’s commitment to provide “impartial and independent humanitarian assistance,” according to the same statement.

He called on all parties to ensure that women’s rights are respected, both among the population and among humanitarian teams.

The issue of women’s rights is most expected by the international community on the Taliban, who seized power on August 15 after a lightning-fast military offensive.

The latter, as well as part of the Afghan population, remember the brutality of the Islamist movement between 1996 and 2001. Since his return to power, it has tried to show a more moderate face.

Half of the 38 million people are in need of humanitarian aid and more than half of children under the age of five will starve in the coming year, the United Nations has warned.

UN humanitarian flights to northern and southern Afghanistan recently resumed, Dujarric said Thursday, hoping they could be stepped up soon.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will hold a meeting between member states in Geneva on September 13 to increase humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.

On the previous Sunday he had called on all Afghans to end the violence.

Between 2002 and 2021, UN flights served more than 20 destinations in Afghanistan and the UN goal is to return to such a scale once the security and funding of the operations are ensured.

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