UN-Afghan conference raises over $1 billion

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

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Agency Report

A United Nations-hosted international aid conference for Afghanistan raised more than 1 billion dollars in aid for the suffering population.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres disclosed on Monday that the sum would only be released if the Taliban take steps to respect human rights.

It was the first donor conference since the militant Islamist movement took power in August.

Although they donated, many states made it clear in Geneva that they were not attaching any conditions to their humanitarian support.

However, further cooperation with the Taliban regime will depend on their treatment of foreign aid workers, women, children and minorities.

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“I think this is also something that gives the international community leverage,” Guterres said.

The United Nations had estimated that Afghanistan needs more than 600 million dollars up to the end of the year to avoid malnutrition and a collapse in public services. Food scarcity has worsened dramatically since the Taliban takeover of the country last month.

Guterres could not say, however, how much of the funding would go towards the UN emergency budget for the coming months, and how much would be provided later or in another form.

The Taliban on Monday called on the international community to cooperate with them to help the people of Afghanistan.

“The world should cooperate with us,” Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid told dpa. “Security has been maintained in the country and the people are in economic trouble; food is scarce, medicine is scarce.”

Guterres convened the meeting, telling the more than 40 ministers attending the event in person, and many more online, that “the people of Afghanistan need a lifeline.”