Middle East/North Africa

UN secretary-general says Afghanistan ‘hanging by a thread’

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United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Wednesday said that Afghanistan is currently “hanging by a thread” months after the Taliban takeover, Reuters reported

In a meeting with the U.N.’s fifteen-member security council, Guterres said the war-torn country is dealing with issues stemming from millions of citizens suffering extreme hunger and education loss as well as social services on the brink of collapsing in the country. 

“We need to suspend the rules and conditions that constrict not only Afghanistan’s economy, but our lifesaving operations. At this moment of maximum need, these rules must be seriously reviewed,” Guterres said. 

Guterres also said called for other countries to issue general licenses covering transactions necessary to all humanitarian activities, according to Reuters. 

“We need to give financial institutions and commercial partners legal assurance that they can work with humanitarian operators without fear of breaching sanctions,” Guterres said.

Donors from a frozen World Bank-administered Afghan Reconstruction Trust Fund agreed in December to transfer $280 million to the World Fund Program (WFP) and to UNICEF to aid nutrition and health in Afghanistan, Reuters reported. 

“We need the remaining $1.2 billion to be freed up urgently, to help Afghanistan’s people survive the winter,” Guterres added. “Time is of the essence.”

Earlier this month, the U.N. appealed for $4.4 billion in humanitarian aid for Afghanistan for this year, saying Wednesday it needed an additional $3.6 billion for necessities such as health and education, basic infrastructure and promotion of livelihoods and social cohesion, Reuters noted.

Tags Afganistan Antonio Guterres Humanitarian aid UNICEF United Nations United Nations

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