Engage with Taliban to avert total collapse of Afghan economy: UN chief Antonio Guterres

WION Web Team
KABULUpdated: Sep 13, 2021, 09:34 PM IST

UN chief Antonio Guterres  Photograph:(AFP)

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Afghanistan's economy is focused on cash, especially for small enterprises. Businesses are projected to suffer if citizens' access to cash and savings becomes increasingly difficult.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged the international community to engage with the Taliban to prevent Afghanistan's economy from collapsing completely.

"It is hard to give humanitarian assistance within Afghanistan without engaging with the de facto authorities," Guterres told journalists on the sidelines of a donor conference, adding that working with the Taliban was "extremely necessary at the moment." 

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The United Nations has requested the international community to contribute $606 million to Afghanistan, where poverty and hunger have increased dramatically since the Taliban took power, and billions in foreign aid have dried up due to Western mistrust of the new leadership. 

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After decades of war, suffering and insecurity, Afghans are facing "perhaps their most perilous hour", UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Monday in his opening remarks to a conference in Geneva seeking aid for Afghanistan, adding that "the people of Afghanistan need a lifeline.

"Let us be clear: This conference is not simply about what we will give to the people of Afghanistan. It is about what we owe," he said.

Between 1996 and 2001, the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, prohibiting women from working and preventing young girls from attending school. They were deposed in an operation led by the United States, which accused them of sheltering al-Qaeda militants responsible for the September 11 attacks.

Last month, the Taliban surged back to power in a rapid sweep when the last US-led NATO troops withdrew and the Western-backed government's forces melted away. 

(With inputs from agencies)