U.N. seeks $600 million for Afghanistan

The United Nations urged the world on Monday to raise $606 million for Afghanistan, where poverty and hunger are spiralling since the Taliban took power, and foreign aid has dried up amid Western distrust of the Islamist militants.

"The people of Afghanistan are facing the collapse of an entire country — all at once," Guterres added.

He said food supplies could run out by the end of this month, and the World Food Programme said 14 million people were on the brink of starvation.

The Taliban ruled Afghanistan according to their strict interpretation of Islamic law from 1996-2001, and were toppled in an invasion led by the United States, which accused them of sheltering militants behind the Sept. 11 attacks.

They swept back to power last month in a lightning advance as the last U.S.-led NATO troops pulled out and the forces of the Western-backed government melted away.

With billions of dollars of aid flows abruptly ending, several speakers in Geneva said donors had a "moral obligation" to keep helping Afghans after a 20-year engagement.

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