UNHCR warns of humanitarian needs in Afghanistan

Geneva [Switzerland]: UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, has expressed concern about the prevailing humanitarian needs within Afghanistan and urged for continuous support to ensure necessary assistance in the country.
The Taliban entered the capital city on Sunday and declared victory over the Ashraf Ghani government. Chaotic scenes have since ensued in the city, where people can be seen rushing to the airport to flee the nation. In a statement issued on Friday, the UN agency said the situation on the ground across the country remains extremely fluid.
“Bolstered support for the humanitarian response inside Afghanistan itself is urgently needed to deliver assistance to the Afghan people, including some half a million displaced this year alone. The vast majority of Afghans are not able to leave the country through regular channels. The footage taken a few days ago of crowds at the airport has shocked the world, speaking powerfully to the sense of fear and uncertainty among many Afghans,” the UN refugee agency said.
UNHCR has welcomed the efforts of several countries to protect at-risk Afghan nationals through bilateral evacuation programmes. However, it added that these bilateral evacuation programmes should not overshadow or substitute for an urgent, and wider international humanitarian response.
“Nor should these hamper or preclude the possibility for Afghans the right to seek asylum in other countries. All states – and this applies to countries both within and outside the region – must preserve the right to seek asylum for Afghans arriving through regular or spontaneous means,’ UNHCR said.
The UN agency further raised concerns about the risk of human rights violations against civilians in this evolving context, including women and girls. “As of today, those who may be in danger have no clear way out. UNHCR is calling on countries neighbouring Afghanistan to keep their borders open in light of the evolving crisis in Afghanistan,” the statement said.

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