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UN calls Afghanistan fundraising conference in Geneva

UN secretary general Antonio Guterres will convene the high-level ministerial meeting on Afghanistan in Geneva on 13 September.(Keystone/EPA/Michael Sohn/Pool)

The United Nations will hold an international aid conference on Afghanistan in Geneva on 13 September to raise funds for urgent humanitarian assistance, the secretary general said on Saturday.

“Afghanistan is facing a looming humanitarian catastrophe,” Antonio Guterres said in a video posted on Twitter.

The high-level ministerial conference “will advocate for more resources so that life-saving humanitarian operations can continue,” said Guterres, who will travel to Geneva for the event.

It will also appeal “for full and unimpeded humanitarian access” to make sure Afghans continue to get the essential services they need.  

Nearly half of Afghanistan's 38 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, according to the UN. One in three Afghans do not know where their next meal will come from. Nearly half of all children under the age of 5 are predicted to be acutely malnourished in the next 12 months. 

Some 18 million Afghans were estimated to already be in need of aid before Taliban militants seized power amid the severe drought and the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We need the international community to stand together and support the Afghan people,” Guterres said.