The UN has reiterated its commitment to deliver “impartial and independent” humanitarian assistance to war-torn Afghanistan.
Martin Griffiths, UN’s undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, met with the Taliban leadership in Kabul on Sunday, the UN and the Taliban said in separate statements.
Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the UN secretary-general, said in a statement that Griffiths met with Mullah Baradar, head of Taliban Political Office, and the leadership of the Taliban in Kabul to “engage with the authorities on humanitarian issues.”
“In this meeting, Mr. Griffiths reiterated the humanitarian community’s commitment to deliver impartial and independent humanitarian assistance and protection to millions of people in need,” said Dujarric.
Suhail Shaheen, a Taliban spokesman, confirmed on Twitter that Baradar hosted Griffiths and his team at Afghanistan’s Foreign Ministry in Kabul.
“The UN delegation promised continuation of humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people, saying he would call for further assistance to Afghanistan during the coming meeting of donor countries,” Shaheen said.
He said the Taliban “assured cooperation and provision of needed facilities” to the UN delegation.
Griffiths, said the UN statement, emphasized the “critical role” of women “in the delivery of aid and called on all parties to ensure their rights, safety and well-being.”
“The authorities pledged that the safety and security of humanitarian staff, and humanitarian access to people in need, will be guaranteed and that humanitarian workers – both men and women – will be guaranteed freedom of movement,” said the UN, referring to Taliban.
“The authorities committed to cooperate with the humanitarian community to ensure assistance is delivered to the people of Afghanistan.”
For Afghanistan, said the UN statement, “an urgent scale-up in funding is required so the lifesaving humanitarian operation can continue.”
“Today in Afghanistan, half of the population – 18 million people – need humanitarian assistance to survive. One third do not know where their next meal is coming from. More than half of all children under-five are at risk of acute malnutrition. A severe drought, the second in four years, will further contribute to hunger in the months ahead,” it added.