KABUL (Pajhwok): United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi has urged the global fraternity to remain committed to Afghanistan at this critical juncture.
At the conclusion of a five-day visit to Afghanistan, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi also called for greater support for Afghan refugees, internally displaced and returnees.
During his visit to Kabul, Bamyan and Parwan provinces, Grandi met President Ashraf Ghani, Vice-President Amrullah Saleh, ministers, provincial governors and Dr Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation.
Grandi underlined the need for an end to the rising violence — killing, maiming, terrorising and displacing Afghan civilians every day. He stressed a peace agreement — provided it truly ensured the security, welfare and rights of all Afghans — was the urgently necessary outcome of the current intra-Afghan talks.
“Such an agreement is indispensable to end a conflict which not only devastates lives but also continues to be the main cause of forced displacement,” the UN official said in a statement.
He added the future of millions of Afghans depended both on a successful outcome of peace talks as well as on the commitment of the international community to the country’s development.
He hoped the upcoming Geneva Conference would be an opportunity to express that commitment in tangible and sustainable ways.
“Failure on either account,” he said, “would see Afghanistan slide backwards with disastrous consequences, including further displacement possibly on a large scale.
“We have seen this happen several times in past decades. This disastrous scenario would require the mobilization of substantial humanitarian assistance under the most challenging security and logistical circumstances.”
He recalled nearly 300,000 Afghans had been internally displaced due to conflict in 2020 alone. They remain in acute need of humanitarian support, as do the nearly three million previously displaced and the nine million people who have lost their livelihoods due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
He reiterated UNHCR’s intention to work with the Afghan government, UN agencies, civil society and other partners in the search for lasting solutions for the internally displaced and returning refugees, building on current legislative and operational initiatives.
Grandi stressed UNHCR’s continued commitment to the 2.4 million registered Afghan refugees remaining in countries of asylum in the region. He highlighted initiatives to facilitate their voluntary return and sustainable reintegration under a regional strategy led by Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan with the support of UNHCR, donor countries and international development institutions.