The international community at the UN meeting in Geneva on Monday, which was attended by more than 90 states, pledged over $1 billion in humanitarian aid for Afghanistan, said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
"This conference has fully met my expectations. There are 156 participants, including 90+ States. This shows how crucial Afghanistan is for the international community. More than 1 billion USD has been pledged,” he said.
The meeting was held at the request of Guterres to provide humanitarian aid for the people of Afghanistan.
The meeting was joined by representatives of many countries and international non-governmental organizations, both physically and virtually.
Guterres at the meeting urged the participants to pledge support for the people of Afghanistan. “The people of Afghanistan need a lifeline. After decades of war, suffering and insecurity, they face perhaps their most perilous hour. Now is the time for the international community to stand with them.” He spoke.
Guterres said the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Martin Griffiths, traveled to Kabul last week and met with the Taliban leadership and the Taliban have said they will cooperate in delivering assistance to the people of Afghanistan.
“The de facto authorities pledged — in person and in a follow-up letter to Under-Secretary General Griffiths — that they will cooperate to ensure assistance is delivered to the people of Afghanistan,” Guterres said.
Guterres entreated the participants to provide $606 million to provide urgent assistance to 11 million people in need in Afghanistan, saying that the UN is providing $20 million. “Today we are announcing a $20 million allocation from the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund to support the humanitarian operation in Afghanistan,” he added.
He also said the United Nations Humanitarian Air Services (UNHAS) has established an airbridge from Pakistan to Afghanistan and is transporting assistance to Afghanistan.
He also called on the international community to protect the progress made in the last two decades in Afghanistan.
The meeting participants also called for the preservation of the achievements made in the past two decades, especially for the rights of women, girls and minorities, and for women and girls' access to education and work. They also called on the Taliban to respect humanitarian laws.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said "the Taliban has to respect basic human rights," and that his country pledges five million euros to provide humanitarian support to Afghanistan.
Dominic Raab, Secretary of State for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs of the United Kingdom, meanwhile raised the UK’s concern over regional instability and said his country will provide aid to Afghanistan via aid organizations. "We will not give aid directly to the Taliban," he said.
The US ambassador to the UN, Linda Thompson-Greenfield, speaking virtually at the meeting, called on the Taliban to uphold the commitments they have made to the United States and the international community. She said the United States continues to provide aid to the people of Afghanistan. She pledged $64 million in new humanitarian assistance, and will assess the on-the-ground situation and consider future assistance, she said.
Sofía Sprechmann Sineiro, secretary-general of CARE International, meanwhile said NGOs can handle delivering aid in complex situations and called for resources and diversity in aid delivery and the participation of Afghan women in the process.
Speakers from Qatar, Turkey, France, India and several other countries and humanitarian organizations also spoke at the meeting and called for international engagement with Afghanistan.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmoud Qureshi called for a "pragmatic" approach to Afghanistan and for sustained engagement by the international community and warned against repeating mistakes of the past.
Turkey Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu said his country’s embassy is operating in Kabul and said the humanitarian agencies should be able to operate securely.