The United Nations has promised continued “humanitarian assistance” to Afghanistan after meeting with the Taliban, a spokesperson for the terrorist group said on Sunday.
“The U.N. delegation promised continuation of humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people, saying he would call for further assistance to Afghanistan during the coming meeting of donor countries,” Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said on Twitter following a meeting with the U.N. Under-Secretary-General for humanitarian affairs.
“The IEA [Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan] delegation thanked the U.N. delegation, assuring them of cooperation and provision of needed facilities,” he added.
According to a U.N. statement on Sunday’s meeting, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths “reiterated the humanitarian community’s commitment to deliver impartial and independent humanitarian assistance and protection to millions of people in need.”
Griffiths also emphasized the critical role of women in the delivery of aid, and called on all parties to ensure their rights, safety, and well-being, said Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General, noting that he called for the protection of all Afghan civilians.
“Mr. Griffiths expressed his solidarity with the people of Afghanistan,” Dujarric said. “Now more than ever, the people of Afghanistan need the support and solidarity of the international community,”
More meetings on the matter are expected in the coming days, the statement added.
The United Nations hasn’t recognized the Taliban as the government of Afghanistan, as opposition forces of anti-Taliban fighters continue their negotiations with Taliban leaders from the Panjshir Valley.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said last month that the Taliban’s desire for international recognition is the Security Council’s only leverage to press for an inclusive government and the respect for rights. Meanwhile, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., said that the U.N. is “not in a place yet where we are prepared to recognize the Taliban.”
Afghanistan, one of the poorest countries in the world, has been plunged into crisis by the abrupt end of billions of dollars in foreign aid following the collapse of the Western-backed government and the Taliban’s take over of Kabul last month.
Many Afghans were struggling to feed their families amid severe drought well before the Taliban terrorist group seized control of the capital on Aug. 15, and millions may now face starvation with the country isolated and the economy unravelling, according to aid agencies.
Henrietta Fore, the head of the U.N. children’s agency, UNICEF, said last week that she anticipates the humanitarian needs of women and children to increase over the coming months.
“Millions will continue to need essential services, including health, lifesaving vaccination drives against polio and measles, nutrition, protection, shelter, water, and sanitation,” Fore said in a statement.
She added: “In recent years, significant strides have been made on increasing girls’ access to education—it is vital that these gains are preserved, and advocacy efforts continue so that all girls in Afghanistan receive a quality education.”
Shaheen added on Twitter that the Taliban assured the U.N. delegation of “cooperation and provision of needed facilities.”
The United Nations is expected to convene an international aid conference in Geneva on Sept. 13 to help avert what Guterres called a “looming humanitarian catastrophe.”
“We need the international community to stand together and support the Afghan people,” Guterres said on Twitter over the weekend in announcing the conference.
Guterres previously said that nearly half of Afghanistan’s roughly 40 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance.
Reuters contributed to this report.