The latest on Afghanistan as US troop withdrawal deadline looms

The latest on Afghanistan as US troop withdrawal deadline looms

An estimated 270,000 people in Afghanistan have been forced to leave their homes since January 2021, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said Tuesday, bringing the total number of internally displaced people in the country to more than 3.5 million.

In this picture taken in the late hours on August 22, 2021 British and Canadian soldiers stand guard near a canal as Afghans wait outside the foreign military-controlled part of the airport in Kabul, hoping to flee the country following the Taliban’s military takeover of Afghanistan. (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP) (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images)

“We can expect that significant numbers of people will seek refuge in neighbouring countries or outside the region,” UNHCR continued in a statement.

“The United Nations is committed to stay and deliver aid to those in greatest need, to support efforts to restore peace and stability and to promote the rights and dignity of all Afghans,” the statement added.

The organization further stressed that there is a “fundamental red line” with regards to the treatment of women and girls in Afghanistan, urging the Taliban to ensure “ongoing respect for the international human rights commitments made by the State,” along with providing public services, such as education, “without discrimination.”

UNHCR’s statement comes a day after UNICEF urged the Taliban to ensure the charity has “safe, timely and unfettered access to reach children in need” across Afghanistan, highlighting that an estimated 10 million children require “humanitarian assistance to survive.”

“An estimated 1 million children are projected to suffer from severe acute malnutrition over the course of this year and could die without treatment. An estimated 4.2 million children are out of school, including more than 2.2 million girls,” UNICEF said, adding that the UN has documented more than 2,000 grave violations of children’s rights since January.

In its statement, UNICEF said the organization will remain on the ground in Afghanistan “now and in the days to come” to provide “essential services,” including medical aid, food and water, along as working to ensure that “all girls in Afghanistan receive a quality education.”

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