Afghan Support Organizations Urge Taliban to End Blockades, Improve Security
An alliance of humanitarian aid agencies called the Afghan Donor Support Group issued a statement urging the Taliban to remove blockades in northern, opposition-held sections of Afghanistan* and to improve security conditions for humanitarian aid workers. Thousands of Afghans are near starvation because the Taliban's blockades and dangerous conditions make it impossible for aid workers to reach the people who need help. A Washington Post article has since reported that the Taliban has agreed to lift its blockade and allow emergency food relief.
The group also stated its commitment to meeting the needs of women, vowed to "treat women as equal partners in Afghanistan's future recovery" and promised to concentrate on eliminating opium production there. "It's an open secret that while the leaders may condemn it, the Taliban benefit from drugs production, through the levy of taxes on poppy crops and from payments by traffickers to ensure their laboratories and drugs convoys can operate with impunity," said Junior British Foreign Minister Derek Fatchett. Fatchett urged members of the Afghan Support Donor Group to work together on their common goals.