A handover ceremony for humanitarian supplies to Afghanistan, aided by China's South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund (SSCAF) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), was held in Kabul on March 27.
Wang Yu, Chinese ambassador to Afghanistan, and the UNHCR's acting representative in Afghanistan Yumiko Takashima attended the ceremony.
Wang said that since the outbreak of COVID-19, the Chinese government is highly concerned about the plight of the Afghan people suffering from the pandemic, turmoil, and drought. Last year, the SSCAF timely approved a request from the UNHCR for emergency supplies and education support projects to the vulnerable groups in Afghanistan, the ambassador said.
With the efforts from the UNHCR, all the supplies have been purchased, which include over 2,400 emergency tents, more than 7,400 assistance kits containing cooking utensils, blankets, and gas tanks, as well as over 20,000 school bags, Wang said, adding that the supplies are being distributed in several provinces in Afghanistan and that he believes these supplies will bring tangible help to people in these areas.
After foreign troops left Afghanistan last August, the country entered a key stage of peaceful reconstruction. Meanwhile, the country is still facing humanitarian and economic difficulties and needs help from all sides.
China supports UN in playing a greater role in Afghan issue and welcomes the UN's emergency appeal for humanitarian assistance by donating supplies to UNHCR and the UN World Food Program. At the same time, China is helping the Afghan people through bilateral channels. The Chinese government, non-governmental organizations, and the Chinese Embassy in Afghanistan have provided assistance worth over $50 million to the country, including food, medicine and winter supplies. Moreover, China has arranged 36 charter flights to import pine nuts from Afghanistan, bringing an income of over $22 million to the country.
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Afghanistan recently, which was of great significance to the peaceful reconstruction of Afghanistan and safeguarding regional peace and stability. Wang Yi said that China respects the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan, respects the independent choices made by the Afghan people, and respects Afghanistan's religious beliefs and ethnic habits. China has never interfered in Afghanistan's internal affairs, and never sought selfish gains or a sphere of influence in Afghanistan, Wang said. Citing the Afghan saying that China is the only major country that has never harmed Afghanistan, Wang said China is willing to carry forward the traditional friendship between the two peoples and develop normal, friendly and good-neighborly relations with Afghanistan based on the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. China is willing to provide new assistance and cooperation projects and help Afghanistan achieve independence and independent development and take its future into its own hands, Wang added.
Yumiko Takashima thanked the SSCAF for the fund support and thanked China for its continuous humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan. Afghanistan is facing a dire humanitarian situation and the people are suffering from a serious survival crisis. The timely assistance from China will bring real help to more than 90,000 displaced Afghan people and children, she said, addting that the UNHCR will work closely with the Chinese Embassy in Afghanistan to make sure the supplies are distributed to those in need.