– US-initiated sanctions imposed on the Taliban-run establishment in Afghanistan have undermined the supply of vital humanitarian aid to the war-torn country, said Martin Schüepp, director of operations for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
“At the moment we continue to operate. I think one of the important challenges is the sanctions that have been imposed. For example, the banking sector and that makes our operations difficult for us,” Schüepp said in an exclusive interview. .
Following the withdrawal of US-led forces from the Asian country, the United States froze more than $9 billion worth of Afghanistan assets as part of its sanctions on the war-torn country’s new rulers.
“It is key that all sanctions have humanitarian exemptions, which allows humanitarian organizations like the ICRC to operate and reach people in need,” Schüepp said.
The ICRC official made the remarks amid growing poverty and high unemployment in war-torn Afghanistan, as more and more Afghans leave their homeland to find work abroad and send remittances to their families who they face the cold winter and economic difficulties at home.
The ICRC official, who has been operating in Afghanistan for the past 30 years, described the humanitarian situation in the country as “very serious” and said that more than half of the country’s population is in need of humanitarian aid.
Schüepp also said that poverty had led to a rise in pneumonia cases and malnutrition among children in the war-torn country.
Earlier, aid agencies warned that more than 22 million of Afghanistan’s 35 million people face severe food insecurity and warned the country would face catastrophe if necessary assistance is not sent before winter.
“So, in general, we continue to operate throughout the country. We continue to implement our activities and actually increase our activities in the country,” the official said.
“In addition, one of our main programs is to support hospitals… across the country to ensure that all Afghans in need receive care,” the official said. ■