Afghans queue up to withdraw money outside a bank in Kabul. Keystone / Stringer
Switzerland is increasing its aid for Afghanistan which is in the grips of an acute humanitarian emergency and under the control of the Taliban after the withdrawal of US-led forces.
This content was published on September 8, 2021 - 11:45 September 8, 2021 - 11:45
The government on Wednesday approved an additional CHF33 million ($36 million) to bolster aid on the ground and alleviate the suffering of the Afghan population. In all, Switzerland has earmarked CHF60 million for Afghanistan over the next 16 months.
“The top priority is to protect and care for displaced persons in Afghanistan and neighbouring countries,” the government said in a statement.
Afghanistan has been in disarray since the Taliban takeover in mid-August with people facing a collapsing health system and banking services, and large swathes of the population facing hunger and insecurity. International relief efforts have been complicated by staff evacuations, shutdowns, a volatile security situation and legal uncertainty.
“The threat of economic collapse, the ongoing drought, and famine will further increase the number of people in need of humanitarian aid,” the Swiss government said in a statement.
Switzerland has had a presence on the ground in Afghanistan since 2002 and contributes on average CHF27 million annually to humanitarian aid and development programmes ranging from poverty reduction, education, rule of law promotion and agricultural help.
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The Swiss office in Kabul closed temporarily in August 2021. Switzerland works closely with the United Nations, international non-governmental organisations, and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan and boosting donor aid will be the focal point of a conference to be held in the Swiss city of Geneva next week under the auspices of the UN.
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