Half of Afghanistan’s population needs aid amid rising violence – EU commissioner


A ceasefire between the Afghan government and the insurgent Taliban is necessary in order to deliver much needed humanitarian aid, a senior European Union humanitarian official said on Wednesday.

The European Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarcic visited Kabul to announce the EU will provide €32 million (US$38.5 million) for humanitarian projects in 2021.

Lenarcic said that the “increasing violence and conflict is the main cause for the humanitarian need in this country”.

He added that the EU would “very much hope and call for an immediate, unconditional and comprehensive ceasefire”.

It is estimated that half of Afghans need humanitarian aid but rising violence is preventing deliveries to those in need.

Violence has risen in the war-torn nation, dashing hopes that a US-brokered peace process in Doha would reduce conflict while the Afghan government and the Taliban negotiated a political settlement.

Even during the usually subdued winter months, fighting has taken place around the country along with a wave of assassinations of government officials and civil society members.

On Wednesday a blast in Kabul killed a police officer, and unknown attackers killed a religious leader in the southern city of Kandahar and a judge in the eastern city of Jalalabad.

Lenarcic called on the government and the Taliban “to understand that allowing for full and unimpeded humanitarian access is their obligation under humanitarian law.”

Lenarcic said that the amount of the EU’s humanitarian aid could rise. Those funds are separate from the US$12 billion over the next four years that foreign donors including the EU pledged in November. (Source: CNA)