UN says there is critical need to keep Kabul airport open for aid deliveries

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - AUGUST 25: People who want to flee the country continue to wait around Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 25, 2021. ( Haroon Sabawoon - Anadolu Agency )

Worries grow whether aid can keep flowing with Taliban takeover

CHICAGO, United States (AA) – The UN said Wednesday that there is a “critical and essential need” for Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport to remain fully functional for aid to flow following the US withdrawal.

UN chief spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters that the airport must remain open for commodities and personnel to keep flowing in and out of Afghanistan.

“We can, obviously, bring some commodities through cross-border operations,” he said, “but it goes without saying that a truck convoy in these circumstances is expensive and takes a lot longer to get to where it needs to go.”

A few days after the Taliban overran the country earlier this month and took control of the perimeter of the airport, the UN announced its commitment to “stay and deliver aid to millions of people in need in the country.”

“While the situation is highly complex,” the UN said in a statement that “humanitarian agencies are committed to supporting vulnerable people in Afghanistan who need us more than ever.”

Dujarric reiterated that on Wednesday, saying, “To have a functioning airport in Kabul that can handle large planes, cargo planes, is essential, as is having other airfields operational in other parts of the country.”

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