Conflicts & War

Taliban calls for international aid during WHO director’s Kabul visit

(Update 1: adds details of visit)

Kabul, Sep 20 (EFE).- The Taliban on Monday sought international aid to deal with the health crisis in Afghanistan, which has intensified after the fundamentalist group seized power, during a meeting with the director general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“If the international community doesn’t provide aid in the health sector and other areas, Afghanistan will face a humanitarian crisis,” Afghanistan’s interim prime minister Mullah Hassan Akhund said in a press conference, according to a press note released by the Taliban.

Akund also appealed for an end to the freezing of funds in Afghanistan by several countries and institutions after the Taliban took over Kabul in August, while demanding that the sanctions on Taliban leaders be lifted.

“Pressures will not resolve the problems, they can be solved through dialogue. Those sanctions which are still in place should be removed,” the prime minister said in the presence of a WHO delegation led by Ghebreyesus.

Ghebreyesus arrived in Kabul on Monday morning along with WHO regional head Ahmed Al-Mandhari and met with the Taliban authorities to take stock of the humanitarian crisis in the country, acting Health Minister Wahid Majrooh told EFE.

According to the Taliban, the WHO chief said that the body will “try to save Afghanistan from a humanitarian crisis” and “increase assistance.”

He admitted that the funds donated by the international community before they came to power “have been frozen,” and promised to try and get them released, according to the press note.

Afghanistan’s health system has been on the verge of collapse after the Islamists came to power, prompting in cutting off of international aid that has resulted in unpaid wages and serious problems in replenishing supplies.

The country’s health authorities have asked the international community to release the funds on grounds that the system could collapse very soon.

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