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Switzerland again beefs up aid to Afghanistan

Kite runner: a boy playing in front of Kabul, February 2022. Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All Right Reserved

Switzerland is to donate an additional CHF30 million ($32.47 million) in aid to Afghanistan this year, as part of international efforts to shore up the struggling country.

This content was published on April 1, 2022 - 11:22
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The Swiss donationExternal link was announced at an international conference in Geneva on Thursday, organised by Germany, Qatar, Britain and the United Nations. A total of $2.44 billion was pledged, far short of the UN’s $4.4 billion appeal.

Switzerland’s donation is largely in line with its usual annual budget for Afghanistan of CHF27 million, wrote the foreign ministry, which said that it was “extremely concerned about the growing humanitarian crisis and the deteriorating human rights situation in Afghanistan”.

The UN estimates that 62% of the Afghan population (more than 24 million people, including some 13 million children) are dependent on emergency aid. Nine million face famine and some families are selling children and organs to survive, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in Geneva.

Human rights

Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis, who hosted the conference, added that financial help alone was not enough, and that efforts also needed to be made to protect human rights. The minister singled out a recent decision by the ruling Taliban to take girls out of school after the age of 12. Cassis called for the right to education to be respected.

Since 2002 the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation has contributed to development projects in Afghanistan to the tune of some CHF27 million each year. In August 2021, following the Taliban takeover, it closed its office in Kabul. Swiss support to the country is currently channelled through partners including the UN, local and international NGOs, and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

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