New figure shows nearly twofold increase in IDPs within past week as Taliban presses offensive
WASHINGTON (AA) – The UN sounded the alarm on Friday over a rapidly rising number of internally displaced people (IDPs) in Afghanistan as the Taliban’s lightning offensive continues to result in major territorial gains.
Stephane Dujarric, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ spokesman, told reporters at the UN’s New York headquarters that from July 1 through Aug. 12, the global body counted 10,350 IDPs who arrived in Kabul “trying to seek safety for themselves and their families.”
That is nearly double the figure of 5,800 presented by the UN on Wednesday in a tally that ran through Aug. 5.
Most of those who have been displaced are either renting accommodations, or being hosted by family and friends, but Dujarric noted a “growing number” who are saying in the open. The UN is continuing to provide IDPs with food, water, sanitation assistance, and household items.
The international body has warned of a potential humanitarian catastrophe should fighting that has engulfed much of Afghanistan reach the capital’s streets.
The Taliban have made rapid gains in recent days, and have now taken control of 17 of Afghanistan’s 34 provincial capitals. The insurgents captured Afghanistan’s second- and third-largest cities of Kandahar and Herat on Thursday, and have advanced on five more provincial capitals.
Dujarric said there is no evacuation of UN personnel from the country, but said the international body is “evaluating hour by hour the security situation both in Kabul and in other locations.”
“We very much want to deliver aid to those who need it in a moment where aid is extremely important,” he said.