Thu. Jan 20th, 2022

Antonio Guterres pleads with the US and World Bank to thaw Afghanistan’s funds to prevent an economic and social collapse.

The head of the United Nations has warned that millions of Afghans are on the “brink of death” and calls on the international community to fund the UN’s $ 5 billion humanitarian appeal, release Afghanistan’s frozen assets and launch its banking system to to prevent economic and social collapse.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters on Thursday that “freezing temperatures and frozen assets are a deadly combination for the people of Afghanistan,” and “rules and conditions that prevent money from being used to save lives and the economy in this emergency. must be suspended. “situation.”

Afghanistan’s aid-dependent economy had already stumbled when the Taliban take power mid-August amid the chaotic departure of US and NATO troops after 20 years.

The international community Afghanistan’s assets frozen stopped abroad and economic support, reluctant to cooperate with the Taliban, given their reputation for brutality during their 1996-2001 rule and refusal to educate girls and allow women to work.

The UN said 8.7 million Afghans were on the brink of starvation and Guterres said it was critical to quickly “inject liquidity into the Afghan economy” and avoid a collapse that would lead to poverty, hunger and poverty for millions lead”.

It is “absolutely essential” to avoid a collapse, he stressed, “because with the current situation, you have Afghans on the brink of death.”

The Secretary-General said the US “has a very important role to play because most of the financial system in the world works in dollars” and the US has frozen $ 7 billion in Afghan foreign reserves, mainly in the US.

UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths and Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, are scheduled to hold a virtual meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday.

Guterres said one reason for the meeting was to try to “create mechanisms that allow for an effective injection of funds into the Afghan economy and at the same time create the conditions for the financial system in Afghanistan to convert into the local currency”.

The UN chief said international funding should be allowed to pay the salaries of doctors, sanitation workers, electrical engineers and other civil servants, as well as to help Afghan institutions provide health care, education and other key services.

Last month, the World Bank transferred $ 280 million from a reconstruction trust fund it administers for Afghanistan to the UN Children’s Agency, UNICEF, and the World Food Program for their operations in the country, Guterres said.

“I hope the remaining resources – more than $ 1.2 billion – will be available to help the people of Afghanistan survive the winter,” he said.

Calling on the international community to support the Afghan people, Guterres said he was equally urging Taliban leaders “to recognize and protect fundamental human rights, and in particular the rights of women and women.” girls “, and to build government institutions. in which all Afghans feel represented.

“Through Afghanistan, women and girls are missing from offices and classrooms,” Guterres said. “No country can prosper while denying the rights of half its population.”

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