As winter approaches in Afghanistan, UN urges end to attacks against aid convoys

As winter approaches in Afghanistan, UN urges end to attacks against aid convoys

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With the onset of winter in Afghanistan expected to cut remote regions off from aid deliveries, the United Nations Assistance Mission there (UNAMA) today called on warring factions to allow safe passage and access for humanitarian workers delivering relief aid.

With the onset of winter in Afghanistan expected to cut remote regions off from aid deliveries, the United Nations Assistance Mission there (UNAMA) today called on warring factions to allow safe passage and access for humanitarian workers delivering relief aid.

“The next six weeks will be crucial for our humanitarian efforts,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's Special Representative for Afghanistan, Tom Koenigs.

He said UN agencies are working to reach families most in need but efforts are being complicated by the security situation.

Insurgents and criminal gangs have killed or abducted 110 aid workers, and 55 humanitarian convoys have been looted this year, according to UNAMA.

“Those responsible for these attacks are pushing the most vulnerable people outside of our reach,” said Mr. Koenigs. “Such attacks are a clear violation of international humanitarian law and they must stop. We need all parties to recognize that the humanitarian needs of the Afghan people must come first, above fighting and above politics.”

The UN World Food Programme estimates that over 4 million Afghans need food assistance each year, while 400,000 people are seriously affected by natural disasters.

UN agencies and the Government of Afghanistan are currently moving essential food and medicine around the country before the winter weather conditions prevent access to remote regions.