During the conference, the U.N. said it needed $606 million in emergency funding to address the immediate crisis, while acknowledging that money alone will not be enough. The organization has pressed the Taliban to provide assurances that aid workers can go about their business safely. By the end of the gathering, international pledges had surpassed the amount requested.
But even as the Taliban sought to make that pledge, the U.N.’s human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, also speaking in Geneva, said Afghanistan was in a “new and perilous phase” since the militant Islamist group seized power.
“In contradiction to assurances that the Taliban would uphold women’s rights, over the past three weeks, women have instead been progressively excluded from the public sphere,” she told the Human Rights Council in Geneva, a warning that the Taliban would need to use more than words to demonstrate their commitment to aid workers’ safety.
Monday’s conference was also intended to drive home the enormity of the crisis and offer some reassurance to Western governments hesitant to provide assistance that could legitimize the authority of a Taliban government that includes leaders identified by the U.N. as international terrorists with links to Al Qaeda.
Martin Griffiths, the U.N.’s director of humanitarian and emergency relief operations, visited Kabul last week and said Taliban authorities had promised to facilitate the delivery of aid.
“We assure you that we will remove previous and current impediments in front of your assistance and all related projects working under supervision of U.N and other international organizations in Afghanistan,” the Taliban said in verbal and later written commitments that Mr. Griffiths read out to the conference. The Taliban also promised to protect the life and property of humanitarian workers and safeguard their compounds. On Sunday, Taliban authorities sent assurances that they would facilitate humanitarian aid deliveries by road, he added.