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Afghan humanitarian leader’s plea for international support

Published: in Australian News by .

A leader of Afghanistan’s peak humanitarian body is pleading with the international community not to abandon its people.

Exclusive: A leader of Afghanistan's peak humanitarian body is pleading with the international community not to abandon its people.

Dr Mohammad Nabi Burhan, the acting secretary general of the Afghan Red Crescent Society in Kabul, has called on countries around the world to continue offering humanitarian support.

"Afghanistan depended on [the] international community's assistance for decades and now if the international community support reduces it will have huge effects on the people's lives," he told 9news.com.au.

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Decades of war and corruption has left the economy in ruins.

An estimated 18 million Afghans — half the population — are in need of humanitarian assistance due to severe drought, poverty and conflict-induced displacement.

The Afghan Red Crescent runs about 140 health facilities that offer essential medical treatment to people around the country. Of those, about 70 are mobile and able to travel between villages to treat people who have been displaced by recent conflict.

The Australian Red Cross is working alongside the organisation to help provide relief such as money, food and essential items.

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But Dr Nabi says there's growing pressure on the Afghan Red Crescent, as other aid groups cease operations in the country.

When asked whether he is concerned about what will happen if international support is cut off, he said: "I hope they will give support to Afghanistan because the support is for the vulnerable people of Afghanistan, I mean the people of Afghanistan need really the support.

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"If they stop we don't know what will happen ... Afghanistan at the time being doesn't have resources itself to cover such huge expenses to respond to all the needs in the country.

"We have been in war and conflict for decades."

However, while the humanitarian situation is deteriorating, Dr Nabi doesn't believe it is the worst it has ever been.

"Honestly and frankly I don't think Afghanistan is in crisis because Afghanistan was in a war situation for several decades and now at least the people don't hear explosions, they don't hear fighting and it can bring hope to the people to work and to improve, to strengthen their livelihoods," he said.

"Personally, I'm optimistic about the future."

There's also growing concerns about how women will be treated under the Taliban government, which has already ruled out women's sports, including cricket.

Despite this, Dr Nabi is holding out hope, as the Afghan Red Crescent employs hundreds of women, who provide assistance to people all around the country.

"The women in Afghanistan are developed through a long period of time and they will continue to have their participation in activities," he said.

"I don't think that they will be prevented or can be prevented but temporarily they might have some restrictions for sure ... but for [the] long term I don't think they will be ... excluded."

The Morrison Government has appointed a special representative, to join the humanitarian effort alongside allies in the region.

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/world/afghan-red-crescent-society-leader-calls-for-international-support-after-taliban-takeover/bc025ed3-74ff-4969-a24c-faff8e163d66

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