UN refugees chief lands in Kabul to assess Afghan crisis
Kabul, Sep 13 (EFE).- The UN Refugee Agency chief landed in Kabul Monday for “acute humanitarian needs” due to the displacement of 3.5 million Afghans.
“During my visit, I will assess the country’s acute humanitarian needs and the situation of 3.5 million displaced Afghans,” Filippo Grandi tweeted after arriving in Kabul.
“I am grateful to all UN, NGO, and other humanitarian workers who are working hard on the ground to meet those needs,” the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said.
Nader Farhad, the spokesperson for the UN agency, told EFE that Grandi would be in Kabul for two or three days.
He said Grandi planned to meet Afghan officials but did not divulge details of the meetings, saying it was “still early to give more information about his visit and with whom he will meet.”
Grandi posted a photograph of officials of the interim Taliban government receiving him at the airport.
The Afghan conflict has internally displaced some 3.5 million people, of whom half a million had to flee their homes in the past eight months.
The United Nations refugee agency data shows that Pakistan and Iran have hosted millions of Afghan refugees for four decades now.
While large numbers returned home after 2001 with hopes for a better future, these two countries still host some 2.2 million registered Afghan refugees — almost 90 percent of the total.
Most of the refugees have no regular channels to seek safety.
The UN agency said the humanitarian response in Afghanistan was still desperately underfunded even as there was an emergency, with millions in dire need of help.
“Some Afghans are still internally displaced, while others are starting to find their way back home following the fighting. All rely on humanitarian programmes that need scaling up, and fast.”
Grandi had earlier warned that a humanitarian crisis would unfold in the country after the emergency evacuations of foreigners and some locals following the fall of the President Ashraf Ghani government.
The UN agency, which continues to work in Afghanistan despite the fears sparked by the Taliban takeover, has expressed its concern that the rights of Afghan women and girls were under threat.
The agency has drawn attention to a food crisis in the country. EFE