UN Vows to Remain in Afghanistan as Last US Troops Leave  

With the departure of international troops from Afghanistan, U.N. agencies pledge to remain in the beleaguered country and assist millions of people, many of whom are internally displaced. The Taliban now is in charge of the country but there is no centralized government in place.   U.N. agencies say that is problematic.  However, they note they have been talking with the Taliban and other groups for decades about accessing people in need.Spokesman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Jens Laerke says he believes that experience will allow aid agencies to gain the necessary acceptance to carry out their life-saving operations.  “The armies have left but the U.N. is staying, and we are committed to stay.  And that is what we have said from the beginning, and that is what we are doing.  Just to remind you that we have already delivered humanitarian aid to some eight million people this year alone.  So, I think that is simply a number that demonstrates that we are there to stay.” The United Nations aims to assist 16 million people this year, including 3.5 million people forcibly uprooted from their homes by conflict.  However, it acknowledges that may not be possible as it has received only 39% of its $1.3 billion humanitarian appeal.  FILE – A child receives a measles vaccine at the Indira Gandhi Children Hospital, in Kabul, March 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)Aid agencies say they fear the tragedy that has been unfolding in Afghanistan will no longer be visible now that the airlifts out of Kabul have ended.    U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi warns a far greater humanitarian crisis is just beginning.  He is urging nations to keep their borders open to Afghans fleeing persecution and conflict and who need international protection. 

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