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India reaches out to Afghan people with a million doses of Covid-19 vaccine

Two weeks after sending lifesaving medicines for Afghan children, India has once again reached out to Afghan people by dispatching one million doses of Covid vaccine to Kabul. as humanitarian aid to the Taliban ruled Afghanistan.

A senior official of the Ministry of External Affairs confirmed to indianarrative.com that this is  first occasion when New Delhi is sending doses of Covaxin to Afghanistan after the Taliban captured power. These doses are being sent to war-torn Afghanistan under Narendra Modi government’s Vaccine Maitri programme.

According to Khaama Press of Afghanistan, the first shipment of 500,000 doses has already arrived in Tehran through Iran’s Mahan Air. They are expected to reach Kabul on Saturday. The second consignment of jabs will reach Kabul in the second week of January.

India providing Afghanistan with one million doses of COVID-19 vaccines

Following Taliban’s takeover of Kabul, Covid-19 vaccinations in Afghanistan have dropped by 80%, the UN agency UNICEF said in its report, warning that half of the few doses delivered to the country so far are close to expiry.

Last month, the Health Minister of the Taliban government Qalandar Ibad had appealed to the international community for help, “Everything that helps combat the pandemic and strengthen the health of our citizens is of great value for us," the minister stressed. "We’re interested in receiving vaccines from Russia as well as from any other country, which wishes to render assistance to us in this field." Ibad said that the US did not provide Afghanistan with vaccines promised in the negotiations between Taliban and American diplomats on October 9 in the capital of Qatar, Doha.

Though India has not recognised the Taliban regime,  it has, nevertheless, offered to help the people of Afghanistan. In February, India donated half a million doses of the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine to Afghanistan as part of its vaccine diplomacy.

India is also sending 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan by road through Pakistan. After sitting over the Indian proposal, the Imran Khan government had told New Delhi on December 3 that it will allow Afghan trucks for transport of wheat and life-saving medicines. Delhi has said that there cannot be pre-conditions attached to humanitarian assistance.

According to the UN estimates, nearly 23 million Afghans are facing acute food shortage, with as many as 3.2 million children at the risk of malnutrition.

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