Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General – on Afghanistan
At the request of the Secretary-General, Martin Griffiths, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator for the United Nations, is currently in Kabul.
During his visit today Mr. Griffiths met with Mullah Baradar 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. He emphasized the critical role of women in the delivery of aid and called on all parties to ensure their rights, safety and well-being. He called for all civilians – especially women and girls and minorities – to be protected at all times. Mr. Griffiths expressed his solidarity with the people of Afghanistan.
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. The authorities committed to cooperate with the humanitarian community to ensure assistance is delivered to the people of Afghanistan.
Further meetings are expected in the coming days.
Mr. Griffiths will also meet – and convey his thanks on behalf of the United Nations to – representatives of humanitarian organizations, both UN agencies and non-government organizations, who remain operational in the country and have assisted eight million people this year.
As Afghanistan faces a looming humanitarian catastrophe, the Secretary-General has convened a high-level ministerial meeting to address the growing humanitarian needs in the country. An urgent scale-up in funding is required so the lifesaving humanitarian operation can continue. The United Nations continues to stand in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan.
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.
Now more than ever, the people of Afghanistan need the support and solidarity of the international community.