Russia has launched a humanitarian flight to Afghanistan to deliver aid and evacuate people from the war-torn country.
According to Russia’s Defense Ministry, three planes set off for Afghanistan on Thursday to unload 36 tons of humanitarian aid at the airport in Kabul and then take on board citizens of Russia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, Ukraine, and Afghanistan.
Each aircraft had medical personnel on board, as well as equipment and medicines to provide support to the evacuees. In addition, there was a sufficient supply of drinking water, blankets, and individual food rations, the ministry’s statement added.
On Friday, planes arrived at Russia’s Chkalovsky airport with 205 people on board.
Earlier this year, Russia’s defense ministry evacuated over 400 citizens of Russia and the CSTO member states seeking to flee Afghanistan.
Since the Taliban’s takeover of the country in mid-August, conditions here have been on a decline, placing the region at risk of food insecurity and other serious challenges. According to a report issued by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), nearly 19 million Afghans, or 47 percent of the population, saw high levels of acute food insecurity between September and October of this year.
Deborah Lyons, the UN envoy for Afghanistan, believes that the country is “on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe,” pointing to food scarcity and the country’s crumbling economy. Speaking at a press conference at the UN on Wednesday, Lyons said that crisis levels of hunger in a food emergency will likely worsen over the winter, mainly due to financial sanctions imposed on the Taliban that “paralyzed the banking system, affecting every aspect of the economy.”
The Taliban launched massive offensive recapturing swaths of land, including major cities and provinces, simultaneously with the withdrawal of the US servicemen. The group’s return to power after being ousted in 2001 finished with the fall of the capital Kabul on August 15. President Ashraf Gani fled the country to avoid what he claimed could be “bloodshed.” The militant group changed Afghanistan’s name for the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,” promising to establish an inclusive government in line with the Islamic sharia law.
Tens of thousands of Afghans have scrambled to flee their country since the Taliban took over the country.
Regime change raised concerns in Moscow over the potential threats posed by such terrorist groups as Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State that may spread to the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries that share a border with Afghanistan.
Nikolai Patrushev, the Secretary of Russia’s Security Council, believes that the events in Afghanistan may develop according to a catastrophic scenario if the authorities in Kabul fail to normalize the situation there, and the international community cannot support the country’s people.
He further added that it is difficult to precisely predict what consequences the region, particularly CIS nations and the entire world, will face under a negative development of the situation.
“Surely, they will be extremely grave,” Patrushev said, speaking at an annual meeting of the secretaries of the security councils of the CIS member states held on Wednesday.