Pakistan is supporting efforts to fly humanitarian supplies into Afghanistan where medical stocks are dwindling and the airport in Kabul crippled by a terrorist attack, a senior Wold Health Organization (WHO) said in Geneva Friday.

“We have only a few days of supplies left and we’re exploring all options to bring more medicines into the country,” Dr. Rick Brennan, Regional Emergency Director with the WHO Office for the Eastern Mediterranean (EMRO), speaking during the bi-weekly briefing by UN agencies. 

The first Pakistani flight carrying humanitarian supplies will hopefully leave in the coming days to Mazar-i-Sharif, Dr. Brennan told media.

He said that in absence of a function Civil Aviation Authority in Kabul, landing an aircraft is a challenge. 

However, WHO is working with Pakistanis, because they can work with its contacts on the ground to ensure that all the necessary steps are taken for landing an aircraft, Dr Brennan said. 

He added that insurance costs for bringing an aircraft into Afghanistan have “skyrocketed” overnight, reaching prices never seen before.

“We’re trying to jump through that hoop at the moment,” said Dr. Brennan. “Once we can address that, we will hopefully be airborne in the next 48 to 72 hours”.

Meanwhile, UN Spokesman Stephane Dujrarric thanked Pakistan’s support for UN operations in Afghanistan and their generosity towards Afghan refugees, in a phone call with Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. 

The terrorist attack has accelerated tensions and volatility in a country where nearly half the population, or 18 million people, were already dependent on humanitarian relief even before the Taliban seized power. An ongoing UN appeal for $1.3 billion is less than 40 per cent funded.

However, the UN continues to underline its commitment to stay in Afghanistan. More than 100 international staff, and around 3,000 national colleagues, remain in the country.

The story was filed by the News Desk.
The Desk can be reached at info@thecorrespondent.com.pk.

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