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Afghanistan needs aid to offset economic crisis says UNHCR

Afghanistan needs aid to offset economic crisis says UNHCR

Image Credit: Samuel Ruiz, Associated Press

With the majority of central bank assets frozen abroad and millions of dollars in international aid having dried up, Afghanistan was looking at another potential economic and humanitarian crisis said Babar Baloch, spokesperson for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. Baloch was speaking in an interview to media in Islamabad, Pakistan to highlight the magnitude of the Afghan crisis.

The total needed for humanitarian operations in Afghanistan in the next few months is $600 million, Baloch said, and only 35% of that had been provided by international donors, despite promises at a recent conference in Geneva where donors pledged more than $1 billion in aid. According to an Al Jazeera report, the Afghan acting foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi said that the Taliban had requested the US to unfreeze certain bank assets at a meeting in Qatar.

Without this money there would most probably be an efflux of refugees seeking to escape the impact of the economic shutdown and the Taliban takeover of the country, Baloch warned. The refugee crisis, if it happens, would overwhelm even refugee-friendly countries like Pakistan and Iran who have hosted refugees for decades, she said.

A humanitarian hub had been set up in Uzbekistan to get supplies to Afghanistan since airports and transports remained affected by the recent crisis. However this also depended on the Taliban letting local women back into work all across the country for which the UN was engaging in talks with the Taliban, Baloch added.

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TAGS:AfghanistanAfghan womenTalibanUNHCRAidAfghan refugees
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