UN welcomes opening of new aid supply routes to Afghanistan
A spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) welcomed the recent opening of the Friendship Bridge linking Uzbekistan to Afghanistan, as well as the Nijni Pyandj - Shirkhan Bandar River crossing between Tajikistan and Afghanistan. "These added supply routes should boost the delivery of aid to internally displaced Afghans in the northern and western parts of the country," Fatoumata Kaba told the press in Islamabad.
The spokesperson also called for a quick resolution of the conflict in southern and eastern Afghanistan to allow distribution of humanitarian assistance there. "Instability in the two regions makes it virtually impossible for any humanitarian organization to access the hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons," Kaba said.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the UN World Food Programme (WFP) said the security situation in Mazar-i-Sharif and other areas in the north should make it easier to reach people in that region, which is known as the “hunger belt.”
"Working with NGOs [non-governmental organizations], WFP is trying to provide food aid to over 350,000 internally displaced persons in the northern provinces," said spokesman Khaled Mansour. "Day after day, we have been able to reach more of them," he added, noting that over the weekend, the agency had sent 437 tonnes of food to Kunduz province. "When security risks become reasonable, we take them and move in," he said.