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An aid group said during a Senate inquiry that Afghanistan “is rapidly developing into the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.”
Speaking to a committee reviewing Australia’s engagement with Afghanistan, Save the Children said more than 10 million children are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance to survive.
“Without immediate action from governments like Australia, the situation will become catastrophically worse,” said Mat Tinkler, Deputy Managing Director of Save the Children Australia and Director of International Programs.
Tinkler called on the Australian government to increase funding, with a commitment of at least $ 100 million in flexible new humanitarian funding provided on a multi-year basis. He also reaffirmed called on the government to increase humanitarian aid to a minimum of 20,000 places for Afghans and to support their safe passage.
âWe have helped a number of our own employees to evacuate and have appreciated the cooperation and support of the Australian government.â
Weighing in on the controversial issue of talks with the Taliban, Tinkler said Australia should also work with other governments to determine “a common, constructive and principled modality to engage with the Taliban in Doha and Afghanistan “. He said this commitment “should be anchored and continued with a view to ensuring the protection of rights, including the rights of women and girls, humanitarian access and the provision of essential services”.
The investigation also heard from Save the Children Country Director in Afghanistan, Chris Nyamandi, who joined the hearing from Kabul.
Nyamandi said Save the Children had had some success in access negotiations with the Taliban:
âI think the biggest issue we’re negotiating on is that women aid workers are allowed to work and we’ve seen some positive signals about that. However, it is clear that the Taliban authorities do not have the capacity, they do not have the resources, they do not have, in some respects, the political will to move forward on certain important elements. There is a general feeling of lack of urgency. If children are dying here in Kabul, you can imagine what happened in remote areas that we do not have access to. It will be important to exert a little more pressure so that there is a sense of urgency about what needs to be done to save lives. “