Taliban assures safety of Malaysian humanitarian workers in Afghanistan, says Ahmad Azam

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): The Malaysian humanitarian team to Afghanistan has been given security guarantees by the Taliban interim government to carry out aid work in the country.

The Foreign Minister's Special Adviser on Afghan affairs, Datuk Ahmad Azam Ab Rahman, said the Taliban government had also agreed to provide escorts for safety.

"We have received security guarantees from the Afghan government. When needed, (make a) call and he will send troops to be with us, especially in sensitive areas.

"However, we cannot rule out the possibility of bombs here and there. At least, guarantees have been given and we have to be careful," he told Bernama after a visit to Wisma Bernama on Monday (Oct 11).

Ahmad Azam said the security guarantee given by the Afghan government is also hoped to convince more international NGOs to participate in providing humanitarian aid to the people in Afghanistan.

Currently, six people – from the Global Peace Mission Malaysia (GPM) and Muslim Volunteer Malaysia (MVM) humanitarian mission team – have been in Kabul since Sept 24 to provide assistance to affected Afghans.

Ahmad Azam, who is also GPM chairman, said the body will also hold a briefing on Wednesday at Anjung Rahmat Sungai Merab to provide information on the current situation in the country to NGOs interested in conducting humanitarian missions in Afghanistan.

The Afghan people desperately need humanitarian aid to help them survive, and the situation is expected to be more critical by winter in December, he added.

"We encourage Malaysian NGOs to join forces to help the Afghan people. We hope the assistance from Malaysia can ease the burden and establish goodwill with the Afghan people.

"What is important for them there now is food. Many have lost their jobs; and now we can see, in Kabul, many people selling goods such as furniture and anything that can be sold," he said.

Ahmad Azam, who is also commissioner of the Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation's (OIC), was appointed special adviser to the Foreign Minister on Afghan affairs recently to help facilitate Malaysian NGOs' humanitarian mission to Afghanistan.

Afghanistan continues to be in turmoil following the Taliban's overthrow of Ashraf Ghani's government following the withdrawal of US troops from the country after 20 years in mid-August.

The Malaysian government is still waiting and watching the developments and has yet to give recognition to the new Afghan government. – Bernama

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