Afghanistan: after the earthquake, the Taliban call for the unfreezing of funds

Afghanistan: after; s the earthquake, Taliban calls for unfreezing funds

After the violent earthquake which hit Afghanistan, the international community has mobilized and aid is beginning to arrive.

The Taliban in power in Afghanistan pledged on Saturday not to hinder the efforts organizations to help the tens of thousands of people affected by the earthquake.

The 5.9-magnitude earthquake that hit the southeast of the country on Wednesday, killing more than 1,000 and leaving thousands homeless, is a test for the Taliban, who returned to power in August 2021, 20 years after the end of their previous regime.

Before the earthquake, Afghanistan was already suffering from a deep economic and humanitarian crisis, the international community having closed the floodgates of financial aid that had carried the country at arm's length for two decades.

In the past, the Taliban have been accused by humanitarian organizations of diverting aid to areas where people support their insurgency against the pro-Western government.

Saturday, Khan Mohammad Ahmad, a senior Taliban official from the province of Paktika, the most affected by the earthquake, however promised not to interfere in the work of UN agencies and international NGOs.

Whether it is the WFP [World Food Programme], UNICEF [United Nations Children's Fund] or any other organization […], the international community or the United Nations […], they will make the distributing [aid] themselves, he said.

The Taliban will always be with them, ready to help, he said however underlined.

The earthquake is the deadliest to hit Afghanistan in more than two decades.

This tragedy is a logistical challenge for the Taliban, which no country has yet recognized due in particular to restrictions on women's rights.

Despite everything, the community – including Western countries – quickly mobilized and help is starting to arrive.

What don't we need ? We need everything, Said Wali, a survivor, told AFP in Gayan district, very close to the epicenter of the earthquake, about 200 km southeast of Kabul. p>

We are alive, but nobody listens to us and we have not received any help so far, he says.

Most of the houses in his village built of dried earth bricks did not resist the earthquakes and were destroyed.

Our beds and all our belongings are buried under our house […]. There is nothing left, he adds. Now we need money to be able to buy what we need: clothes, mattresses, equipment. We also need flour and rice.

Visiting Saturday in Gayan district, the Minister of Health could only see the trauma: The whole community is deeply affected , mentally and psychologically, Qalandar Ebad told AFP. The situation is critical […]. Society is totally ruined here.

Ramiz Alakbarov, the top UN official in the country, praised the courage and resilience of Afghans after visiting the area.

What signs of determination in the face of adversity, I would say in the face of endless adversity! he told AFP. Endless difficulties, endless tragedy, and despite everything, these people are so worthy, so strong! And they want to overcome all of this, they come together as a community, as a society, he added.

Relief operations are complicated by the isolation of the region and the rain. The downpours caused landslides which slowed the delivery of aid and damaged telephone and power lines.

Entire villages are destroyed and, according to the authorities, nearly 10,000 houses were damaged, where sometimes up to twenty people lived.

The government called in the army, but that -it has few means, few helicopters, few planes.

Afghanistan is frequently hit by earthquakes, particularly in the Hindu Kush mountain range, located at the junction of the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates.

Deadliest earthquake in recent history [5,000 dead] dates back to May 1998, in the provinces of Takhar and Badakhshan.

Despite this, the emergency services, already before the return of the Taliban, do not allow the country to face alone a disaster major natural e.

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