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Afghanistan ‘hanging by thread’, UN chief tells Security Council

AT News

KABUL: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the Security Council on Wednesday that Afghanistan is “hanging by a thread,” calling for countries to authorize all transactions needed to carry out humanitarian activities in the country.

Afghanistan is “hanging by a thread,” United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the Security Council on Wednesday, calling for countries to authorize all transactions needed to carry out humanitarian activities in the Taliban-ruled state.

He also pushed for a suspension of any rules or conditions constricting “lifesaving” aid operations as millions in the country suffer extreme hunger, education and social services are on the brink of collapse, and a lack of liquidity limits the capacity of the United Nations and aid groups to reach people in need.

“We need to give financial institutions and commercial partners legal assurance that they can work with humanitarian operators without fear of breaching sanctions,” said Guterres, noting that the 15-member council last month adopted a humanitarian exemption to U.N. sanctions tied to Afghanistan.

Some $9.5 billion in Afghan central bank reserves remain blocked abroad and international development support has dried up since the Taliban seized power in August. Donors seek to use the money as leverage over the Taliban on issues including human rights.

“There is compelling evidence of an emerging environment of intimidation and a deterioration in respect for human rights. This suggests that the consolidation of government authority may be leading toward control of the population by fear,” the U.N. special envoy on Afghanistan, Deborah Lyons, told the council.

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