The United Nations is calling for a record $ 5 billion (£ 3.7 billion) in aid from Afghanistan this year to help protect the country’s future after the Taliban took power.
The appeal includes $ 4.4 billion (£ 3.3 billion) in humanitarian aid alone, which is almost a quarter of Afghanistan’s GDP and triple the figure received in 2021.
An additional $ 623million (£ 458million) is being sought to support the refugees.
Announcing the appeal on Tuesday, UN aid chief Martin Griffiths said the huge sum would be an “absolutely essential stopgap measure” to help the country after the withdrawal of foreign aid last year. following the Taliban victory in August which resulted in Afghan economy on the brink of collapse.
He said: “This is a palliative, an absolutely essential palliative measure that we are putting before the international community today.
“Without it being funded, there will be no future, we need it to happen otherwise there will be exits, there will be suffering.”
Griffiths, who met with Taliban officials, added that the humanitarian plan had been “carefully calibrated” so that aid will go directly to those in need and not to the authorities.
Western sanctions targeting the Taliban have also blocked the passage of basic supplies of food and medicine, although this has since eased after the UN enacted exemptions.
The country also found itself in difficulty as food prices rose rapidly, causing widespread famine.
Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, said improved security now means it is possible to help millions of people displaced by the long conflict to return home safely.
He added that since the Taliban took power, 170,000 had already returned.
Mr Grandi said: “The conflict between the Taliban and the previous government is over and it has opened up a space of security which I think we must take advantage of.
“But to do that, we need these resources that are part of this call.”