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UN appeals for funds to help war-torn Afghanistan

Supporters of the Taliban carry the Taliban's signature white flags in the Afghan-Pakistan border town of Chaman, Pakistan, Wednesday, July 14, 2021 (AP Photo/Tariq Achkzai) 
AP Reporters

The UN humanitarian chief in Afghanistan has appealed for €850 million (£615 million) to help the war-torn country cope with the Taliban offensive, protracted malnutrition for a third of the country, drought, and the return of 627,000 Afghans, mostly deported from Iran.

Ramiz Alakbarov told reporters at UN headquarters after a virtual briefing from the capital Kabul that at least 80 million Afghans were in need of assistance and the UN plan was to provide help for at least 15.7 million of them.

But he said the UN’s 1.3 billion-dollar (£940 million) appeal was only 37% funded, with the United States the largest donor. He said the remaining the 850 million dollars being sought was desperately needed.

As American, British and other NATO troops complete their withdrawal from Afghanistan after nearly 20 years, the Taliban in recent weeks have gained control of many districts and key border posts with neighbours Iran, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

In many instances, Afghan security forces and military have put up little or no resistance after often being left without supplies or reinforcements.

Mr Alakbarov said the second drought in three years and the Taliban’s offensive have led 270,000 people to flee their homes in rural areas toward urban areas and regional centres, where they need food, water, shelter and sanitation.

The UN is also seeing “very intensive movements of population in the areas when the Iranian and Pakistan borders are now largely closed”, with Afghans trying to use paths away from the official crossings to try to leave the country, he said.

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