UNHCR chief says stability is needed in Afghanistan

KABUL (AP) – The international community and the Taliban will have to find a way to deal with each other to stabilize Afghanistan, the head of the United Nations refugee agency said Tuesday.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Filippo Grandi pointed out that the world faces a difficult choice: It must balance the danger of an isolated Afghanistan falling into violence and chaos, and the political minefield of supporting a government. led by the insurgents.

“The international community will have to balance pragmatism, the need to keep Afghanistan stable and viable, and the political considerations that would go into supporting a Taliban-led government,” Grandi said.

The Taliban overthrew the US-backed Afghan government on August 15. They have faced international criticism for forming an internal executive made up solely of group members despite their promises of inclusion. Governments around the world have said they will not recognize the new rulers until there is more inclusive leadership.

Grandi noted that an urgent commitment is needed to avoid an economic collapse that could lead to violence and chaos and could lead to a mass exodus. A collapse of the already fragile Afghan economy would splash its neighbors and spread around the world, he added.

“It is urgent. This is not one of those development issues that can be discussed for five years before reaching a conclusion, but it will require commitments from everyone, “added UNHCR’s chief executive.” I think the international community will have to adapt some of the their stricter rules on working with governments … and the Taliban will have to make concessions as well.

Grandi said he met with Taliban ministers and they listened to him. They have arguments with each other, suggesting that some may be open to a less harsh, less restrictive approach than their last government, he said, adding that they will be judged for their actions.

The task of meeting the country’s humanitarian needs has global support, he added, as indicated by the $ 1.2 billion raised by the UN on Monday.

According to Grandi, humanitarian aid must be delivered soon so that the population is fed and protected against the approach of winter.

Although the world is united to get aid there, the logistical challenge is enormous in a country that does not even have a functioning banking system. Every day, thousands of people wait outside banks in the capital, Kabul, hoping for a chance to withdraw the maximum weekly allowance of $ 200.

The United Nations has warned that 97% of Afghans will live below the poverty line by the end of the year.

More than 3.5 million people have had to leave their homes because of the fighting in recent years, and more than half a million in the last month alone. Many live in makeshift camps in Kabul parks. Dozens of families take refuge under tattered sheets tied with ropes.

In the city’s Shahr-e-Now park, 63 families are living in squalid conditions, many of the children are ill and the only portable toilet has long exceeded capacity. The women wash themselves behind a smelly curtain.

Conditions will only get worse as winter approaches, said Grandi, who is trying to provide shelters.

“This political and military crisis, this change of government that has occurred has surprised the population at the worst possible moment, emerging from years of insecurity,” he said. “That is why it is so difficult to address it now.”

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