Humanitarian Situation in Afghanistan

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:30 pm on 24 October 2001.

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Photo of Baroness Amos Baroness Amos Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) 4:30, 24 October 2001

My Lords, first I can reassure my noble friend that we are doing all we can to ensure that the food that the World Food Programme and others have identified as being required is delivered. However, in the Statement and in the answers that I gave to the noble Baroness, Lady Rawlings, I made it absolutely clear that there are some difficulties attached to getting the food through that are not of our making but are a result of the way in which the Taliban operates.

On the amount of humanitarian assistance, the UN has made an appeal. It requested 600 million dollars and in fact received pledges for over 700 million. Our concern is that of those pledges only 70 million dollars have been received so far. With the UN, we are putting pressure on those countries that have made those pledges to ensure that the money is released.

I agree with my noble friend that we need to ensure that the experience and expertise of other countries which have worked hard to ensure that women are a part of the development process are used in our thinking and planning when talking about the future reconstruction of Afghanistan.