UN seeks to raise $600 million for Afghanistan amid growing humanitarian crisis

The United Nations is convening an aid conference in Geneva on Monday in an effort to raise more than $600 million for Afghanistan, warning of a humanitarian crisis there following the Taliban takeover. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, other top UN officials, and some 40 ministers are expected to attend the conference in Geneva. Other officials are likely to join online.

Even before the Taliban’s seizure of Kabul last month, half the population of Afghanistan was dependent on aid, according to the UN. Drought and shortages of cash and food threaten to make the situation worse, UN officials and aid groups warn. The US pullout also led to an abrupt end of billions of dollars in foreign donations, leading to an increase in pressure on the UN and its humanitarian programmes in Afghanistan. The conference to be held in Geneva, Switzerland, will be attended by top officials of the world body. It will also see participation from the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross Peter Maurer, as well as dozens of government representatives including German foreign minister Heiko Maas. An abrupt end to billions of dollars in foreign donations following the collapse of Afghanistan’s Western-backed government and the ensuing victory of the Taliban has heaped more pressure on U.N. programmes. About a third of the $606 million being sought would be used by the U.N. World Food Programme which found that 93% of the 1,600 Afghans it surveyed in August and September were not consuming sufficient foods, mostly because they could not get access to cash to pay for it.