ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has urged the international community to provide immediate humanitarian relief to millions of Afghans on the brink of starvation.
In a tweet uploaded on Saturday, Imran Khan said there was urgency for the international community, as well as their obligation under the unanimously adopted UN principle of Responsibility to Protect, to provide immediate humanitarian relief to millions of Afghan people.
It is pertinent to mention here that United Nations says that currently, more than half the population of Afghanistan depends on life-saving assistance.
The United Nations’ Secretary-General, António Guterres has warned that the world is “in a race against time to help the Afghan people.”
The UN chief said the scale of the appeal “reflects the scale of the despair.” “Babies being sold to feed their siblings. Freezing health facilities overflowing with malnourished children. People burning their possessions to keep warm. Livelihoods across the country have been lost.”
Without a more concerted effort from the international community, Guterres argued, “virtually every man, woman and child in Afghanistan could face acute poverty.”
The prime minister also tagged a news story published in the Guardian daily, UK, carrying excerpts from an article written by former British premier Gordon Brown to UK foreign secretary, Liz Truss, calling on her to help convene a donor conference to raise $4.5bn (3.3bn pound) for Afghanistan.
Brown, in his article, had warned that more than 23 million people were at risk of starvation if aid did not materialize.
The former UK prime minister said: “We are witnessing a shameful but also self-defeating failure to prevent famine”, adding that the UK should urgently take a lead in resuming the delivery of aid dramatically halted after Taliban announced their government.
The UN agencies had launched a call for $4.5bn in aid for 2022, its biggest-ever international appeal. The US responded with a donation of $308m, to be channeled through independent humanitarian organizations.
Brown said that was not enough. “The 35-country, American-led coalition that ruled Afghanistan for 20 years under the banner of helping the Afghan people has still put up only a quarter of the money that would allow UN humanitarians to stop children dying this winter.”
Brown further wrote that he had written to Truss and to the European Commission’s president, Ursula von der Leyen, to ask them to host an international donor conference “in January or at the latest in February” to break the impasse.
“The devastation the world was warned about months ago is no longer a distant prospect,” Brown said, adding, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator Martin Griffiths, Brown wrote, “forecasts that if we do not act, 97% of Afghans will soon be living below the poverty line”. – NNI