External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, during a United Nations High-Level Meeting on the Humanitarian Situation in Afghanistan on Monday, said that India is monitoring developments with understandable concern, adding that the war-torn country is passing through a critical and challenging phase. He added that the UNDP recently assessed that there is an imminent threat of poverty levels rising from 72% to 97% in Afghanistan.
“There’s been a sea change in its political, economic, social & security situation & consequently, in its humanitarian needs. As an immediate neighbor, India is monitoring developments with understandable concern. UNDP recently assessed that there is an imminent threat of poverty levels rising from 72% to 97% there. This would have catastrophic consequences for regional stability,” the minister said.
Speaking on the recent developments, Jaishankar said, “It’s important that issue of travel and safe passage that can emerge as an obstacle to humanitarian assistance be immediately sorted out. Those who wish to travel in and out of Afghanistan should be granted such facilities without obstruction.”
“The normalization of regular commercial operations of Kabul airport would not only assist in that regard but then become the basis of a regular flow of relief material. This would also accelerate activities that would complement domestic relief measures,” he added.
Jaishankar further added that India will continue to stand by the war-torn country during the crisis, just like it did in the past. “Our friendship is reflected in Indian development projects in all 34 (Afghan) provinces. In face of a grave emergency, India is willing to stand by the Afghan people, as in the past. Int’l community must come together to create best possible, enabling environment,” the EAM added further.
Meanwhile, the U.N. said “recent developments” have increased the vulnerability of Afghans who have already been facing decades of deprivation and violence. A severe drought is jeopardizing the upcoming harvest, and hunger has been rising. The U.N.’s World Food Program is to be a major beneficiary of any funds collected during Monday’s conference.