Humanitarian aid to Afghanistan must continue, says WHO

WION Web Team
New DelhiUpdated: Aug 18, 2021, 09:12 PM IST
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World Health Organization skipped two letters in the Greek alphabet, Nu and Xi, for the naming of new Covid variant Omicron (representative image). Photograph:(Reuters)

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The WHO called on "all parties to respect and protect civilians, health workers, patients and health facilities"

World Health Organisation on Wednesday warned against interruptions in humanitarian aid to Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. The WHO said that Afghanistan's fragile health system was vulnerable.

"Sustained access to humanitarian assistance, including essential health services and medical supplies, is a critical lifeline for millions of Afghans, and must not be interrupted," a statement said.

"Months of violence have taken a heavy toll on Afghanistan's fragile health system, which had already been facing shortages in essential supplies amid the Covid-19 pandemic," it added.

The WHO called on "all parties to respect and protect civilians, health workers, patients and health facilities".

WHO said that 26 health facilities were attacked between January and July this year. It added that 11 health workers were killed. This, said WHO, made security at health facilities a "major challenge"

Afghanistan fell after a meteoric Taliban offensive, and before the August 31 deadline set by US President Joe Biden for the last American soldiers to pull out.

Many aid donor countries remain on guard about the new regime in the country, where the Taliban ruled with an iron hand from 1996 to 2001.

The United States has said it expects the Taliban to respect human rights, especially those of women.

Germany, Finland and Sweden said on Tuesday that they would stop sending development aid to Afghanistan for now.

Both the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have remained silent so far, but they could freeze financial assistance to the country.

(With inputs from agencies)