UN wants India’s aid to Afghanistan delivered ASAP


Asked about Pakistan holding up medicines and food supplies to Afghanistan offered by India, the United Nations said on December 7 that it wants humanitarian aid to arrive quickly wherever needed.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ spokesperson Stephane Dujarric was responding to a journalist, who asked what the UN was doing about the “dire food security situation in Afghanistan.” The journalist said India had offered medical supplies as well as 50,000 tonnes of meat. But Pakistan had not allowed them to reach Afghanistan through “various conditionalities”.

“Let me check with our humanitarian colleagues. We would want to see, obviously, humanitarian aid to arrive where it needs anywhere around the world as swiftly as possible,” Dujarric replied.

Guterres has repeatedly warned about a food crisis that could lead to starvation deaths in Afghanistan, but no open international initiative has been taken to solve the problem of getting available food from India.

Pakistan has refused to allow Indian trucks carrying aid through its territory, while S Jaishankar, India’s external affairs minister, had said last month, “We believe that humanitarian assistance should not be subject to conditionalities.”

He had also raised the issue at the trilateral meeting with Sergei Lavrov and Wang Yi, foreign ministers of Russia and China, saying the three “countries need to work together to ensure that humanitarian assistance reaches the Afghan people without hindrance and without politicization.”

The UN World Food Programme’s (WFP) Afghanistan country director Mary-Ellen McGroarty said in a news release that while the international community may have real concerns about the country, “The innocent people of Afghanistan, the children of Afghanistan who have had their lives upended through no fault of their own, cannot be condemned to hunger and starvation just because of the lottery of geopolitics and the lottery of birth.”