Taliban Pledges to Protect Humanitarian Workers and Grant Afghans Access to Aid: UN

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The Taliban has pledged to protect humanitarian aid workers operating in Afghanistan and ensure aid is delivered to Afghans in need, a senior United Nations official has said.

At the request of the secretary-general, U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths visited the country where he met with the Taliban’s nominal leader, Mullah Baradar, and other officials of the regime in Kabul on Sept. 5.

Griffiths spoke with Baradar and the leadership about humanitarian issues, and “reiterated the humanitarian community’s commitment to deliver impartial and independent humanitarian assistance and protection to millions of people in need.”

The emergency relief coordinator also 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 also stressed concerns for the welfare of Afghan civilians, “especially women and girls and minorities,” and called for them to be protected at all times.

According to a statement from Stéphane Dujarric, the U.N. secretary-general’s spokesperson, the Taliban said it would cooperate with the humanitarian community to ensure assistance is delivered to the people of Afghanistan.

Taliban authorities also pledged that the safety and security of humanitarian staff, and humanitarian access to people in need, will be guaranteed and that humanitarian workers, including both men and women, will be guaranteed freedom of movement.

Dujarric said that further meetings are expected to take place in the coming days, and Griffiths will also be meeting with  representatives of humanitarian organizations, both U.N. agencies and non-government organizations that remain in Afghanistan, to convey his thanks on behalf of the U.N.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will also hold 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,” Dujarric said in the statement.

By Katabella Roberts

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