Dawn Punjab

UN humanitarians assess needs of 18.4 mn Afghans

KABUL: Relief workers in Afghanistan are determining the needs of 18.4 million people out of the nearly 40-million population as intense fighting between the Taliban and government is continuing in the war-torn nation, UN humanitarians said.

“Many people are arriving in Kabul and other large cities, seeking safety from the conflict and other threats,” Xinhua news agency reported on Friday citing the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) as saying.

“Inter-agency assessments are ongoing in the field focusing on new displacement, conflict, floods, gender issues and protection monitoring to determine the humanitarian needs and immediate response requirements,” it said.

“The humanitarian community — both the United Nations and non-governmental organizations — remains dedicated to stay and deliver in Afghanistan, but the security environment is highly complex and challenging.”

Meanwhile, Stephane Dujarric, the chief spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, told reporters at the UN headquarters on Thursday that the “the situation on the ground is very dynamic”.

“We’re doing everything we can to ensure the safety and protection of our staff in this very complex situation on the ground.”

He said the US has almost 3,400 national staff and about 300 international staff in Afghanistan.

Another 420 international staff are working remotely outside the country, many because of Covid-19.

“We are in touch with all parties to the conflict, reminding them of their responsibility, not only to protect civilian infrastructure but of the inviolability of UN premises, of the need and their responsibilities to ensure that UN staff and UN premises are kept safe,” the spokesman added.

Since the withdrawal of the US-led forces on May 1, the Taliban has continued to gain ground in Afghanistan.

On Friday, the Taliban took control over the key southern Afghan cities of Lashkar Gah and Kandahar, after weeks of heavy clashes.

The insurgent group captured Ghazni city, the capital of eastern Ghazni province on Thursday, bringing the number of provincial capitals captured so far to more than 10 in less than a week.

Dawn Punjab
Author: Dawn Punjab

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