UN begs Afghanistan’s neighbours to keep borders open

Posted on August 14, 2021, 7:31 am
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GENEVA: The United Nations begged on Friday for neighbouring countries to keep their borders open to allow people to escape the Taliban, and U.N. agencies warned of a growing humanitarian catastrophe amid spreading hunger.

An inability to seek safety may risk innumerable civilian lives. UNHCR stands ready to help national authorities scale up humanitarian responses as needed,” a spokesperson for the agency told a briefing in Geneva.

Some 400,000 civilians have been forced from their homes since the beginning of the year, 250,000 of them since May, a U.N. official said.

The plea comes as hundreds of thousands of Afghans fled their homes amid fears the Taliban will again impose a brutal, repressive government, all but eliminating women’s rights and conduct commonplace public executions. 

Afghanistan’s government has now effectively lost control of most of Afghanistan to the Taliban, following an eight-day blitz into urban centres by the group.

With just three cities remaining under government control – including the capital of Kabul – thousands of people are making a last-ditch attempt to flee the country. 

The insurgents have taken 18 of the country’s 34 provincial capitals in recent days, including its second and third-largest cities Herat and Kandahar, and Lashkar Gah.

The Taliban now control more than two-thirds of the country just weeks before the U.S. plans to withdraw its last troops, along with other Western allies.

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