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Desperate Taliban knocks on UN door for aid as starvation looms in Afghanistan

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Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the front-runner for the top job in Taliban government, and his colleagues met the U.N. undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs in Kabul on Sunday to secure assistance as Afghanistan

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the front-runner for the top job in Taliban government, and his colleagues met the U.N. undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs in Kabul on Sunday to secure assistance as Afghanistan faces a dire humanitarian crisis due to a severe drought and its war-ravaged economy on the verge of collapse.

"The U.N. delegation promised continuation of humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people, saying he would call for further assistance to Afghanistan during the coming meeting of donor countries," Shaheen said on Twitter.

Afghanistan has plunged into a deep crisis with the abrupt end of billions of dollars in foreign aid after the Taliban swept to power and aid agencies fear that millions of Afghans face starvation. 

International aid flows represented roughly 43 percent of Afghanistan’s GDP in 2020, according to World Bank data.

The United Nations is likely to hold an international aid conference in Geneva on Sept. 13 to help avert what U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called a "looming humanitarian catastrophe".

"We need the international community to stand together and support the Afghan people," Guterres said in a post on Twitter.

However, at the same time he wants that the UN should get “full and unimpeded humanitarian access to make sure Afghans continue to get the essential services they need."

Shaheen said the Taliban assured the U.N. delegation of "cooperation and provision of needed facilities."

The United Nations has moved some of its international staff out of Afghanistan to Kazakhstan to ensure their safety after the Taliban swept to power on August 15. However, at the same time the world body has said it is committed to supporting the Afghan people in their hour of need.

The World Bank has shifted its entire staff out of Kabul as it was not considered a safe place any more. Both the World Bank and the IMF have halted aid to Afghanistan.

Western countries are also worried that the aid may fall in the wrong hands. They have made it clear that the Taliban’s action on human liberties and woman’s rights would be closely watched.

Most countries including Russia have not recognised the Taliban regime.  This has created uncertainty over whether the international community will recognize a new Taliban government and release assets of the Afghanistan central bank to the tune of $9.5 billion held offshore.

Also read: In a big setback for Taliban, UK banks red flag transactions with Afghan entities