October 19, 2021

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Desperately trying to get help in Afghanistan.  New conversations give some hope.

Desperately trying to get help in Afghanistan. New conversations give some hope.

Money ran out in Afghanistan. Soon you can get money for emergency assistance, the Norwegian Refugee Council Jan Egeland believes.

In this hospital in Kandahar, they admitted a record number of malnourished children.

Afghanistan led by the Taliban is threatened with collapse. Hospitals are full of malnourished children.

Aid organizations willing to help do not receive money from Afghan banks. The tens of billions of kroner left by Afghanistan abroad have been frozen.

However, talks between the Taliban and the United States in Doha last weekend offer hope for a quick solution.

– I hope and believe that there can be an agreement between the Americans and the Taliban, says Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council.

Egeland was in Afghanistan at the end of September, met two senior Taliban leaders and witnessed a country on the verge of collapse. Hundreds of thousands of government employees, such as doctors, nurses and teachers, have not been paid since May.

Hope for the good news

The NRC has money in Afghan banks, but since the Taliban took power in mid-August, it has not been possible to withdraw more than small amounts. They have spent more than 40 million Norwegian kroner on emergency aid which is now being imported from Pakistan. But in order to avoid collapse, one must start the banking system and pay the salaries of public servants in hospitals and schools.

It requires an agreement between the main actors, the Taliban and the US government. Not so easy. Because the Taliban seized power by force and because they apparently continue to discriminate against women and minorities.

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned on Monday that the Taliban are breaking promises they made to Afghan women and girls, whose dreams have been shattered. statment.

Jan Egeland visited Kabul at the end of September. There he met, among others, shoemaker Abdul Bari, an internally displaced person from Helmand Province.

Despite this, there is a will to help the Afghan people.

– I hope there will be good news from the meeting between the Taliban and the Americans, says Egeland after his talks with senior officials from several countries.

According to Egeland, the US ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas Greenfield, emphasized that although they are not satisfied with the Taliban, they are working on solutions because it is now a matter of life and death.

– If we have the opportunity in a week to start the money transfers, we can do a lot more over the next few weeks. We should get the money into Afghanistan this week, says Egeland.

New meetings between the Taliban, the European Union and the United States

A delegation from the European Union and the United States met with Taliban representatives face-to-face on Tuesday, according to AFP. The arrival of humanitarian aid organizations was among those on the agenda.

What is being discussed internationally are solutions to transfer money to Afghanistan. Not only for purely humanitarian aid, but also for the continuation of essential public services, primarily health and ultimately education, says the source.

The Afghanistan Committee performs a number of assistance operations in Afghanistan. They are confident that the United States is ready to resume humanitarian assistance.

“We hope this will open up the space for the European Union and other donors to follow through until the obstacles to effective relief work cease,” Secretary-General Lev Kgolseth wrote in an email to Aftenposten.

She believes that the United States, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank must ensure that humanitarian assistance is channeled through existing structures.

“This is important to prevent further destabilization of the country as we cannot see that there is an administrative alternative to the Taliban now,” Kjolseth wrote.

Norway was active

Norway’s aid to the Afghan authorities stopped. But NOK 100 million has been reprioritized from long-term assistance to humanitarian efforts.

Like other Western donors, Norway is considering the possibility of continuing efforts that are critical to the Afghan population, including health and education, says outgoing Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soered (H).

Mirwais Hospital in Kandahar has admitted many more malnourished children in recent weeks than before.

It says that in this case this will happen through non-governmental and multilateral organizations and will not be a direct support or acknowledgment of the current system.

Norwegian diplomats and other representatives of the international community met the Taliban in Doha before the end of the week. They have also held other meetings with Taliban representatives since seizing power in August.

– The outgoing Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs said that these are the contacts that have arisen over time, first of all in Doha.

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