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UN urges international community to engage with Taliban govt

KABUL: The United Nations (UN) Refugee Chief, Filippo Grandi has urged the international community to engage with Taliban authorities and must not forget the humanitarian crisis in war-torn Afghanistan in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Grandi, who is on a four-day visit to Afghanistan, warned the international community that ignoring Kabul’s humanitarian needs could be very risky as the country needs humanitarian assistance on an emergency basis.

 “The whole attention of the world at the moment is focussed on Ukraine,” Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, told International media at a UN compound in the Afghan capital.

 “But my message coming here is, don’t forget the other situations, where attention and resources are needed and Afghanistan is one of them,” he added.

 Grandi said that the risks of distraction were very high, very high … Humanitarian assistance has to flow no matter how many other crises compete with Afghanistan around the world.

Donor countries, UN agencies, and Afghan civil society are set to take part in an online fundraising event this month. The summit would focus on delivering food, shelter, and health services, particularly for women and girls.

The Taliban seized power on August 15 amid a hasty withdrawal of US-led foreign forces, and since then the country’s humanitarian crisis has deepened.

The United Nations and other global aid agencies have said that more than half of Afghanistan’s 38 million people are facing hunger.

In January, the UN made its biggest-ever single-country aid appeal, calling for $5 billion to avert a humanitarian catastrophe.

But Grandi said that the war in Ukraine has already started to make it difficult to raise funds for Afghanistan.

The UNHCR itself had made an appeal of $340 million for Afghanistan for 2022 but so far has managed to raise only about $100 million, he said.

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