Conflicts & War

Taliban welcome UN Security Council resolution to ease Afghan aid

Kabul, Dec 23 (EFE).- The Taliban Thursday welcomed the UN Security Council resolution to provide humanitarian aid to Afghanistan without violating sanctions on the extremist regime in the country at the brink of economic collapse following the takeover by the Islamist militia.

The United States-tabled resolution was adopted after months of discussions in the UNSC and broader international community on staving off economic collapse in Afghanistan.

Western countries froze billions of dollars in financial assets of Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover of the country on Aug.15.

The Taliban government welcomed the UNSC’s decision to provide humanitarian assistance.

“The Islamic Emirate welcomes and appreciates the decision by United Nations Security Council,” Bilal Karimi, a Taliban spokesperson, told EFE.

Karimi said the decision would help ease the hardships of the Afghans who have suffered more than four decades of war and were now “facing drought and economic crises.”

Enamullah Samangani, another Taliban spokesperson, said it would have been better to provide aid through the government that has the resources to reach out to the people who needed it the most.

“We appreciate the decision but delivering the aid with close coordination of the Islamic Emirate will be more efficient and effective as the (government) has all the resources and capabilities to assist the process and deliver the aid to the needy people,” Samangani told EFE.

The UNSC on Wednesday carved out an exemption for humanitarian assistance that allows for the processing and payment of funds and the provision of goods and services necessary to ensure the timely delivery of aid.

The world body “strongly encouraged” providers to use “reasonable efforts” to minimize the accrual of any benefits – whether as a result of direct provision or diversion – to entities or individuals designated on the sanctions list.

Martin Griffiths, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, described the UNSC resolution as “evidence of how seriously member states take the shocking levels of need and suffering in the country.”

“This humanitarian exception will allow organizations to implement the work we have planned,” Griffiths stressed.

He said it gave “legal assurances to the financial institutions and commercial actors we rely on to engage with humanitarian operators.”

Griffiths said humanitarian operations in Afghanistan would be the largest in 2022, reaching 22 million people.

Some 160 national and international organizations provide critical food, health assistance, education, water and sanitation, and support to agriculture.

“We urgently need to ramp up this work,” he stressed.

Griffiths painted a grim picture of Afghanistan during his address to a summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers in Islamabad, Pakistan.

He said 23 million Afghans faced hunger, kids ran the risk of malnourishment with health centers teeming with sick children, 70 percent of teachers working without salaries, and millions of students – Afghanistan’s future – out of school.

Griffiths cautioned that by the middle of next year, universal poverty – reaching 97 percent of the population – could be “the next grim milestone”.

“Within a year, 30 percent of the Afghan gross domestic product could be lost altogether, while male unemployment may double to 29 per cent”, he said.

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