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International community must swiftly send humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, neighbors: Iran

A file photo of Afghan refugees

An Iranian diplomat says the international community must speed up the delivery of humanitarian aid not only to Afghanistan but also to its neighboring states hosting a large flux of Afghan refugees before the winter encroaches.

Mahdi Aliabadi, the deputy permanent representative of Iran in Geneva, made the remarks while addressing the 112th session of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Council.

He said Iran had carried out broad measures over the past four decades to support the Afghan refugees, adding the country had “spared no effort to improve living conditions, health and medical services, including the provision of coronavirus vaccines, education of students and other issues related to this group of Afghan brothers and sisters.”

He criticized the international community for failing to adopt appropriate measures to address the problems of the Afghan refugees living in Iran.

Over the past decades, the diplomat emphasized, Iran has paid enormous costs to reduce the sufferings of legal and illegal Afghan asylum seekers and migrants while international organizations and other relevant bodies have borne less than 5 percent of these costs.

Around 300,000 Afghan refugees have entered Iran following the collapse of the Kabul government and the Taliban’s takeover, at a time when the Iranian nation is facing unilateral sanctions and the international humanitarian bodies are keeping silent on such “inhumane” bans.

Afghanistan is facing what UN agencies have described as “one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters” since the collapse of Kabul in mid-August.

The US military withdrew its forces from Afghanistan 20 years after they invaded the country to topple the Taliban, in a war that killed, according to one estimate, between 897,000 and 929,000 people.

Since the Taliban regained power in Afghanistan, the US and its allies have imposed sanctions on the Central Asian country and deprived Afghans of any aid and assistance on the pretext of pressuring the Taliban.

However, human rights activists maintain that economic sanctions generally do not punish the rulers, but rather, hurt the population, lead to mass starvation, and fuel extremism in the targeted country.

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