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UN’s Martin Griffiths Appeals To Get Financing to Afghanistan or ‘It Will Have No Future’

Jan. 14, 2022 (EIRNS)—Speaking from Geneva on Jan. 11, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths made an impassioned plea to the international community for almost $5 billion for Afghanistan’s Humanitarian Response Plan for 2022. This is the largest appeal ever made for a single country, Griffiths said, but emphasized that this is just a stop-gap measure, without which, “there won’t be a future” for that devastated nation. He described in great detail the magnitude of the humanitarian disaster, urging the international community to “scale up and stave off widespread hunger, disease, malnutrition and ultimately death by supporting the humanitarian plans we are launching today.”

Griffiths also made clear that Afghanistan desperately needs a cash infusion into its economy, because “humanitarian agencies inside Afghanistan can only operate if there’s cash in the economy which can be used to pay officials, salaries, costs, fuel and so forth.” Griffiths insisted that the funds would go directly into the pockets of “nurses and health officials in the field” to continue these services, and not as support for state structures, i.e., the Taliban government. Not stated explicitly, but obvious, was the need for the U.S. to release the $9.4 billion in Afghan central bank assets illegally confiscated by the U.S. Treasury.

However, he emphasized, “liquidity in its first phase is a humanitarian issue. It’s not just an economic issue.” Detailing the horrific situation on the ground, threatening 4 million children under the age of five with malnutrition, and 1 million children facing death from severe acute malnutrition, Griffiths depicted the “suspension of international assistance and engagement” since last August and the subsequent 40% contraction in Afghanistan’s GDP, as “one of the most sinister of recent developments.”

Griffiths, who was accompanied by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, warned that if insufficient action is taken now to support Afghanistan, “next year we’ll be asking for $10 billion.”

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