Statement by Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan at the invitation of theSecretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres

13.09.2021 - Speech

Afghanistan is today facing a humanitarian crisis across the board:

Decades of conflict have displaced millions of Afghans. Droughts have caused food shortages, while the pandemic shook the health system. And most recently, the Taliban takeover has hit the economy hard. As a result, humanitarian needs are multiplying. Today’s meeting is therefore crucial – and I thank the Secretary-General for convening it.

Together, we must send a clear message:

We will continue and step up humanitarian support for Afghanistan. And we stand in solidarity with the countries affected by the Afghan crisis – particularly Pakistan, Iran and the Central Asian republics. Germany has already increased its humanitarian funding to Afghanistan and the region by 100 million euros. And we intent to provide another 500 million euros to help Afghanistan and its neighbouring coun-tries, also through the Humanitarian Flash Appeal. In the European Union, we are working on a European Compact with Afghanistan’s neighbours to strengthen resilience in neighbouring countries. And we look forward to coordinating such steps with the efforts of the broader international community and the United Nations.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Humanitarian assistance needs access. We therefore urge the Taliban leadership to guarantee the safety and security of humanitarian agencies and their personnel in Afghanistan. Beyond humanitarian aid, our future engagement with a Taliban government will be determined not by its words but by its actions. We expect people for whom we are responsible to be able to leave the country. The Taliban have to respect basic human rights. And Afghanistan must never again become a place from where terrorism threatens the world. The formation last week of an interim government excluding other groups was not the right signal needed for international cooperation.

Ladies and gentlemen,
The Afghan people need our support. I sincerely thank the United Nations and all other humanitarian organisations currently on the ground in Afghanistan. Their humanitarian workers are displaying immense courage – and we should join hands to give them the means they need.

Thank you.


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