UN Secretary General António Guterres warned on Tuesday of a humanitarian catastrophe unfolding due to the worsening economic situation in Afghanistan following the rise to power of radical Islamist Taliban.
“On the day that a new chapter begins in Afghanistan, I would like to express my serious concern about the deepening humanitarian and economic crisis in the country, which threatens the complete collapse of basic services,” Guterres said in a statement.
He also drew attention to the fact that 18 million Afghans, or almost half of the population, need help to survive.
“A humanitarian catastrophe is about to happen,” he added.
In this context, the UN secretary-general demanded unhindered humanitarian access from the country’s new leaders in order to allow aid and male and female humanitarian workers to reach those in need. Guterres also called on the international community to provide full and commensurate financial support to the Central Asian country in a timely manner.
He also said a list of the country’s most urgent humanitarian and funding needs for the next four months will be published next week. UN Secretary-General’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric reported during the day that Guterres
calls on the Taliban to establish a government based on broad political representation and to respect human rights, especially women’s rights.
However, it is also important to ensure that Afghanistan does not become a haven for terrorists.
At a special meeting on Monday, the UN Security Council called on radical Islamist Taliban in power in Afghanistan to keep their previous promises and not stand in the way of Afghans fleeing the country. Among members of the UN Security Council, 13 of 15 supported the document tabled by France, Britain, the United States, and Ireland, which also called for unhindered humanitarian access for the world organization in the Central Asian country.
Russia and China abstained and did not use their veto powers. Dujarric said representatives of the five veto powers consulted with the UN secretary general after the vote. As he said, the discussion was constructive and was part of an effort by the UN Security Council to reach a common position on Afghanistan.
Title image: United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres speaks during a news conference with Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez at the Moncloa Palace in Madrid, Spain, Friday, July 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Paul White)