Sunday, September 19, 2021
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World comes together to pledge $1bn for Afghanistan as starvation touches millions

With the ruckus around the sudden collapse of the Afghan government and the rapid influx of the Taliban into the country, Afghanistan citizens have been pushed into a spiral of starvation and poverty as millions are going to be left with no food by this month-end.  

Donors around the world have, hence, pledged to give over $1 billion to aid the country and its people in putting an end to their hunger.  

As Afghanistan gets pulled towards a humanitarian crisis, the UN had appealed for raising $606 million. However, it could not be ascertained as to how much money was pledged for the Afghan cause and how much for the other nations, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Monday during the high-level ministerial conference on Afghanistan. 

Though the UN chief was “very pleased” with the foreign response for the war-laden country’s upliftment, he mentioned a “serious possibility” of an economic collapse.  

As food supplies come to an end, 14 million people are on the brink of starvation, according to the World Food Programme.  

While the Taliban has gained power in Afghanistan by sweeping the former government, it has not yet been officially recognized by the international community. This, in turn, has proved to be hazardous for the Afghan people as the Western countries and international financial organizations have cut their ties with the country now, suspending all financial support- billions of dollars which Afghanistan crucially needs at this dire moment to provide food to its people.  

ALSO READ: Afghanistan To Run Out Of Food Soon; World Food Programme Falls Short of Funds

During a press briefing, Mr Guterres said that it is “impossible” to aid the people in Afghanistan without directly getting in touch with the Taliban.  

“I do believe it is very important to engage with the Taliban at the present moment for all aspects that concern the international community,” he said. 

Countries are coming forward to offer help to Afghanistan, with China pledging $31 million worth of food and health supplies. Beijing said on Friday that it will also be sending the first shipment of 3 million covid-19 vaccines to the nation soon.  

Chipping in was Pakistan which sent food supplies including medicines and cooking oil to Kabul authorities. It urged for the international community to unfreeze Afghanistan’s assets as “Afghan people must not be abandoned”, as per Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi who added that “past mistakes must not be repeated”.  

The US will be offering almost $64 million as humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, its UN ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said.  

Afghanistan is witnessing terrible times in its healthcare sector too as they have run out of medicines and the sick are lining up outside clinics. 

“We visited a few days ago a rural clinic just outside of Kabul that had a number of women who were expecting to give birth any day. They didn’t even have rubber gloves. There were no antibiotics, no antiseptics,” sources said. People with season colds too could not get painkillers as the doctors were out of them.