The US and its Western allies are stepping up evacuation efforts after US President Joe Biden stuck to the August 31 deadline to withdraw troops from Afghanistan.
More than 70,000 people, foreigners and Afghans, have been airlifted out of Kabul since August 14, the day before the Taliban swept into the Afghan capital.
“The sooner we can finish, the better… each day of operations brings added risk to our troops,” Biden said Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the World Bank has suspended aid to Afghanistan, freezing hundreds of millions in funding. It has provided $5.3bn since 2002 and has 27 projects there. Last week, the IMF blocked the delivery of payments.
Aid agencies are warning of the risk of starvation and disease. David Beasley, executive director of the UN World Food Programme said 14 million people – one-third of the Afghan population – are facing food insecurity.
“There’s a perfect storm coming because of several years of drought, conflict, economic deterioration, compounded by COVID,” Beasley, said, calling for the international community to donate $200m in food aid.