UN Warns New Round Of Fighting will Worsen Afghan Crisis
The United Nations warned Friday that a new round of fighting would aggravate the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan where a "tragedy" was unfolding.
"I am concerned the possibility of new fighting will give rise to more displacements in Afghanistan," UN Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Kenzo Oshima told a press conference after a visit to camps for people uprooted by war and drought.
"I would like to say once more the situation is really bad and a real tragedy is unfolding in Afghanistan."
Oshima met officials from the ruling Taliban militia and the opposition alliance during his three-day tour of the war-ravaged country.
"I have talked to both and emphasized this point that cessation of fighting would ease the hardships" of the Afghan people, he said.
Some 500,000 people are displaced inside Afghanistan following drought and civil war and another 170,000 have fled to Pakistan since the middle of last year.
About 50,000 people are stranded in central Bamiyan province, which was the scene of major battles this week as opposition forces captured the provincial capital from the Taliban.
Reports from the warring camps say opposition Shiite groups and the Taliban are mustering their resources for more battles around Bamiyan in the coming days.
Oshima visited displacement camps in western Herat where an estimated 80,000 people are encamped. At least 170 drought-affected people including 130 children have died there because of exposure to sub-zero night temperatures over the past few weeks.
He said emergency airlifts of tents and blankets had reached the camps, but "there is need for much more."
Pledges from donors to a UN appeal for 229 million dollars in assistance for Afghanistan this year were "far below" the requirements despite the humanitarian crisis -- ISLAMABAD (AFP)