UN Humanitarian Air Service resumes flights in Afghanistan


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IANS

United Nations, 03 Sep 2021: The UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS), operated by the World Food Programme (WFP), has resumed flights to enable 160 humanitarian organisations to continue their life-saving activities in Afghanistan since the Taliban took over the war-torn nation, a top official said.

 

The air passenger service is currently linking the Pakistani capital of Islamabad to Mazar-i-Sharif and Kandahar in Afghanistan, Xinhua news agency quoted Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, as saying on Thursday.

 

He added that three flights have already arrived in Mazar-i-Sharif since Sunday.

 

All efforts are being made to step up operations as soon as possible and increase the number of flown-to destinations in Afghanistan, according to the WFP.

 

In addition, a cargo air bridge is being established to transport non-food items, such as medical and other emergency supplies to where they are needed the most, it added.

 

The Afghan capital of Kabul remains inaccessible by air at the moment, Dujarric said.

 

“That airport is not yet operational, for us at least. We, obviously, very much hope that it will be in the near future. I think access to airports throughout Afghanistan is very important given the difficulty of often travelling by road.

 

“And obviously the airport in Kabul is, indeed, very important for us to be able to rotate staff and bring in goods,” the spokesman added.

 

’UNHAS’ domestic passenger service requires $18 million, and $12 million is required for the cargo air bridge.

 

Both services will be utilised by the entire humanitarian community, said the spokesman.

 

From 2002 to 2021, UNHAS served more than 20 destinations in Afghanistan.

 

It will seek to return to these locations once security and funding permits, Dujarric added.

 

 

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