UNHCR Urges Int’l Community to Continue Engaging with Taliban

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Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid (C) briefs media at the Kabul airport

ISLAMABAD – Visiting UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi said here that the international community should continue engaging with the Afghan Taliban.

Addressing a press briefing in Islamabad, the top official said the UNHCR is engaging with the interim Taliban administration in Afghanistan on humanitarian matters, urging the world to do the same, reports Xinhua news agency.

“Taliban expressed the wish that humanitarian assistance be rolled out as quickly as possible to the country, because, indeed, and we saw it by ourselves, conditions are very difficult.”

He said Afghanistan has been in need of financial assistance and as the time is passing by “the situation is pretty desperate, everything is needed. Food, medicines, shelter, and other first necessities of life are needed”.

He said if the UNHCR is adequately supported and resourced, it will be able to scale up humanitarian assistance.

“It is important that the international community finds the necessary direction (and) the necessary ways to ensure the functioning of Afghanistan.

“If there is a collapse of public services, for example, like health, or education, and if the state ceases to function, this will provoke a crisis that is much bigger than humanitarian,” Grandi added.

Talking about the new wave of internally displaced people in Afghanistan, he said that about half a million people have been displaced by conflict recently due to fighting in their areas. However, there is no influx of refugees to neighbouring countries including Pakistan.

He lauded Pakistan for facilitating the humanitarian operations in Afghanistan, saying that during his visit to Afghanistan, he received some relief trucks from Pakistan.

“This is very important, whether it is Pakistani donation, but also international donations coming through here, we will need to use Pakistan to fly people in and out, as usual, Pakistan will play a very important role of support to the humanitarian operations inside Afghanistan. I’m very grateful for that.” -IANS

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