UN leader urges countries to help Afghan people in “critical time”

UNITED NATIONS (AP) – The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has called on all countries to help Afghan people in their “critical times,” on Tuesday, saying that almost half of the population needed help to survive and that the country was threatened with total collapse.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed “deep concern for the country’s economic growth” in his remarks on the first day of the Taliban regime’s withdrawal of the last US troops from Afghanistan.

He gave the worst statistics of the coming “compassionate disaster”: 18 million Afghan people need help to survive, one in three do not know where their next meal will come from, half of all children under the age of 5 are expected to be “severely” malnourished “by a year. tomorrow, and every day people lose every opportunity to make ends meet.

“In the event of a severe drought and cold weather approaching, additional food, shelter and medical care should be made to enter the country as soon as possible,” Guterres said.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric says the current $ 1.3 billion UN complaint in Afghanistan is increasing by only 39%. Guterres says the new appeal will suddenly come four months from next week.

“For us,” Dujarric said, “the next day is another day in Kabul. We have been in Afghanistan for more than 60 years, and we are left with the Afghan people.”

He said a UN task force had visited Kabul on Tuesday. Although aid work has not started in the capital, he said, the World Health Organization’s cargo plane was able to land at Mazar-e-Sharif in the north on Monday and the World Food Program could resume operations in the country.

With the Taliban in power, Dujarric says the secretary-general wants to see, and hopes the international community wants to see, “the establishment of a coalition government, respect for human rights … especially when it comes to women, and ensure that their hard-earned achievements, especially over the years The last 20 years have not been free, and it is clear that Afghanistan has not been used as a base for terrorism. ”

As Afghanistan prepares for a new future, Pramila Patten, UN Women’s chief, urges the Taliban to reaffirm their commitment to Afghanistan’s 2004 laws and international conventions that ensure equality among all citizens, and ensure “full and equal participation of women” in political matters and in the decision-making process. ”

Patten said in a statement that Afghan women’s rights activists have fought for “they cannot be changed or returned.”

“There is an urgent need for women to participate in Afghanistan’s political and social affairs,” he said, and the Taliban need to ensure that women are protected from intimidation or abuse, “which violates their rights and impedes effective participation.”

In a joint statement, Virginia Gamba, the UN special envoy for children and war, and Najat Maalla M’jid, a special envoy on child abuse, say that at least 45% of the population of Afghanistan is under 15 years of age.

They called on the Taliban and other parties in Afghanistan to respect the dignity and rights of all Afghan people, including boys and girls.

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