Sun 26 June 2022:
The Taliban administration in Afghanistan said on Saturday that they will not be interfering with any international aid that will be directed towards the citizens suffering due to earthquakes.
Afghanistan experienced a 5.9-magnitude earthquake on Wednesday and that resulted in the death of more than 1000 people. It also rendered many people homeless in the country and since then, the United Nations and some countries have sent humanitarian aid to the people.
The Taliban said it would not interfere with Afghan government-led efforts to deliver assistance to thousands of people suffering in the aftermath of this week’s magnitude 7.5 earthquake.
“Whether it is WFP, UNICEF or any other organisation… the international community or the United Nations… they will do the distribution by themselves,” said Khan Mohammad Ahmad, a senior official in hard-hit Paktika province according to the AFP report on Saturday.
“The responsible people from the Islamic Emirate are here… our members will be always with them (to help),” he added, referring to the new name for Afghanistan which was proposed by the Taliban.
Health minister Qalandar Ebad visited some of the earthquake-hit districts of the country.
“The whole community is badly affected, mentally and psychologically,” Ebad told AFP.
“I think now the situation is critical… society is totally damaged here,” he added.
According to the official data, around 10,000 houses were damaged due to the earthquake with millions getting affected in the process. While the government was not able to cover much area with their resources, the international aid has been a huge boon for the people affected by the disaster.
Delivering aid has been made more difficult because the quake struck areas already suffering the effects of heavy rain, causing rockfalls and mudslides that wiped out hamlets perched precariously on mountain slopes.
Communications have also been hit with mobile phone towers and power lines toppled.
Even before the Taliban takeover, Afghanistan’s emergency response teams were stretched to deal with the natural disasters that frequently strike the country.
But with only a handful of airworthy planes and helicopters left since they returned to power, the Taliban’s response to the latest catastrophe is further limited.
Call for unfreezing of bank funds
Since then, billions of dollars in Afghan central bank reserves remain frozen overseas amid international sanctions on the Taliban government that has hampered the domestic banking sector and left the country’s new rulers with few reserves.
“The Islamic Emirate is asking the world to give the Afghans their most basic right, which is their right to life and that is through lifting the sanctions and unfreezing our assets and also giving assistance,” Abdul Qahar Balkhi, foreign affairs ministry spokesman, told Reuters in an interview.
Balkhi said Afghans’ right to life-saving funds should be the priority.
SOURCE: INDEPENDENT PRESS AND NEWS AGENCIES
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