People sit along a road outside a bank waiting to withdraw money at Shar-e-Naw neighborhood in Kabul on Sept 4, 2021. (WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP)
GENEVA - Afghanistan is facing the collapse of basic services and food and other aid is about to run out, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on Tuesday.
OCHA spokesperson Jens Laerke told a UN briefing in Geneva that millions of Afghans were in need of food aid and health assistance, urging donors to give more ahead of an international aid conference for Afghanistan on Sept 13.
ALSO READ: UN to convene Afghanistan aid conference on Sept 13
Basic services in Afghanistan are collapsing and food and other lifesaving aid is about to run out.
Jens Laerke, spokesperson, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
The agency has released a flash appeal for around US$600 million to meet humanitarian needs for 11 million people for the remainder of the year amid warnings of drought and starvation.
"Basic services in Afghanistan are collapsing and food and other lifesaving aid is about to run out," he said. "We urge international donors to support this appeal fast and generously."
More than half a million people have been displaced internally in Afghanistan this year as the Taliban has swept across the country, culminating in its seizure of the capital Kabul on Aug 15.
The UN's call came as Taliban gunmen fired in the air to scatter protesters in the Afghan capital Kabul, with video showing scores scurrying to escape volleys of gunfire.
Hundreds of men and women shouting slogans such as "Long live the resistance" and "Death to Pakistan" marched in the streets to protest against the Taliban takeover.
"The Islamic government is shooting at our poor people," one panic-stricken woman on the street says over sounds of gunfire in a video clip shown on Iranian television news. There were no immediate reports of injuries, however.
US-led foreign forces evacuated about 124,000 foreigners and at-risk Afghans, but tens of thousands were left behind.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States was in contact with about 100 Americans who were still in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said no deal had yet been reached with the Taliban on how Qatar and its partner Turkey could get Kabul airport running again.
On Monday, the Islamist militants claimed victory in the Panjshir valley, the last province holding out against it, and promised to name a government soon
"We hope in the next few days we can get to a level where the airport is up and running for passengers and for humanitarian aid as well," he said at a news conference.
Turkey said it wants to provide security inside the airport to protect any Turkish staff and safeguard operations, but that the Taliban have insisted no foreign forces can be present.
On Monday, the Islamist militants claimed victory in the Panjshir valley, the last province holding out against it, and promised to name a government soon.
Pictures on social media showed Taliban members standing in front of the Panjshir governor's compound after days of fighting with the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan (NRFA), commanded by Panjshiri leader Ahmad Massoud.
Massoud denied that his force, consisting of remnants of the Afghan army as well as local militia fighters, was beaten.
"We are in Panjshir and our resistance will continue," he tweeted. He said he was safe but did not say where.
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