UN seeks $606M for Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. Here’s how much Biden pledged to pony up.

Last week, Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said high-level Taliban officials were assured of aid while meeting with the U.N. undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs in Kabul.

“The UN 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 tweeted.

Little did we know that the United Nations is looking to others to foot that bill.

With foreign aid drying up in the face of Islamist militants now running the country, Reuters reported that the U.N. “urged the world on Monday to raise $606 million for Afghanistan, where poverty and hunger are spiraling since the Taliban took power.”

The U.N. is hosting a high-level donors conference in Geneva to secure funding for Afghanistan, with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres insisting that Afghans are facing “perhaps their most perilous hour.”

In what some may consider as adding insult to injury, the London-based news agency said the US, under President Biden, “pledged nearly $64 million in new humanitarian assistance at the conference.”

“The people of Afghanistan are facing the collapse of an entire country — all at once,” he said, which may speak to his lack of confidence in the Taliban being an effective governing force.

Guterres suggested that food supplies could run out by the end of this month, which would leave 14 million people on the brink of starvation, according to the World Food Programme. About half the population, 18 million people, depends on aid.

While there was talk of a “moral obligation” in Geneva to help Afghans, U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet “accused the Taliban of breaking promises by once more ordering women to stay at home rather than go to work, keeping teenage girls out of school, and persecuting former opponents,” Reuters reported.

In a statement last week confirming a commitment to humanitarian assistance, Guterres said that the U.N. “emphasized the critical role of women in the delivery of aid and called on all parties to ensure their rights, safety and well-being [and] called for all civilians – especially women and girls and minorities – to be protected at all times.”

The Taliban initially vowed to form an inclusive government and grant amnesty to former opponents, but U.N. News has since reported that they “have beaten Afghan journalists, violently dispersed women’s protests and formed an all-male government despite saying initially they would invite broader representation.”

The newspaper cited German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas as one of those speaking about the world having a “moral obligation” at the conference.

Maas said Germany would be “significantly stepping up” its humanitarian aid to the country, but added, “We demand from the Taliban that they respect basic human rights, particularly the rights of women and girls.”

He said that will be a “benchmark for us and our partners in determining our future engagement with a new Afghan government.”

Meanwhile… *Caution: Disturbing Footage:

China and Pakistan have reportedly already offered assistance.

“Beijing announced last week it would send $31 million worth of food and health supplies,” Reuters noted. “Pakistan sent supplies such as cooking oil and medicine, and called for the unfreezing of Afghan assets held abroad.”

“Past mistakes must not be repeated. The Afghan people must not be abandoned,” said Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

Tom Tillison

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