UN warns of Afghan refugee surge, calls for urgent economic aid


UN High Commis-sioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi warned of a surge of Afghan refugees amid mount-ing fears of economic collapse in the war-ravaged country and called for urgent eco-nomic aid.

“We risk having an implosion that will cause an inflow of people inside the country for sure but at that point also out-side of the country in quest of better conditions of life,” Grandi told reporters via video link from Geneva.

The United Nations has re-peatedly warned that Afghani-stan is on the brink of the world’s worst humanitarian cri-sis.

More than half of Afghani-stan’s 38 million population is expected to face hunger this winter, according to aid groups, as the economy tee-ters on the verge of collapse following the Taliban’s return to power and as international aid remains frozen.

Grandi said that the crisis can still be avoided, but it requires faster action in terms of im-plementing systems to ensure the Afghan economy can function, that services con-tinue and that cash flow into the country resumes.

He added that he will travel to Tehran in several days to dis-cuss the issue with Iran’s leaders. Iran has been a leading desti-nation for Afghan refugees fleeing war and economic troubles for decades.

Despite the risk of famine in Afghanistan, Iran has recently been expelling tens of thou-sands of Afghans every week, including those who had long been living there.

According to the UNHCR, there are 3.4 million Afghans in Iran, including nearly two million undocumented mi-grants and 800,000 refugees.

Furthermore, some 3.5 million Afghans have been displaced inside their country, many of them before the Taliban came to power in August, according to UN estimates.—Agencies

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