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WHO restores medical supplies to Afghanistan after Taliban takeover

WHO eager to provide health services in Afghanistan (Photo: IANS)

In a significant development, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Monday that a plane with lifesaving medical supplies arrived in Afghanistan to enable it to "partially replenish" health facilities in the war-torn country.

The WHO said that the supplies will help it provide trauma and emergency health kits for more than 200,000 people and also enable it to conduct 3,500 surgical procedures and treat 6,500 trauma patients.

A WHO statement said: "They are set to be delivered immediately to 40 health facilities in 29 provinces across the country". The medical supplies were loaded by the WHO's logistics team in Dubai. Two more plane loads of supplies are being planned.

The supplies arrived just in time as the country was on the verge of running out of medicines and health care supplies. The WHO had made an appeal just last week, saying that medical supplies will run out in Afghanistan within days. On Friday it had said that it was trying to make an air bridge from the north Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif with the help of Pakistan.

The WHO had listed trauma kits, emergency supplies and medicines for children as priorities to sustain its humanitarian operations in Afghanistan.

Mazar-i-Sharif is an important town in north Afghanistan which is a major trading centre as it lies on the north south and also the east west trading routes. It is well connected by road and rail with its neighbours. The region touches Afghanistan's northern neighbours–Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

The Taliban captured it just a couple of days before the fall of Kabul.

After the pull out by US and NATO troops, coupled with the seizure of Kabul by the Taliban militants, governance collapsed in the country. The UN says that nearly 18 million Afghans need support, which includes 3.5 million internally displaced people.

Tens of thousands of people have fled to Iran and Pakistan fearing reprisals from the militants.