At least 17 people were killed and 41 injured, including children, in and around Kabul due to the Taliban’s celebratory aerial gunfire on Friday night.
Heavy celebratory gunfire was heard across Kabul on Friday after the Taliban claimed that they have taken control of the Panjshir valley and defeated the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan (NRFA). In photos and videos shared on social media, people were seen taking their wounded relatives to the hospital.
“By the grace of Allah Almighty, we are in control of entire Afghanistan. The troublemakers have been defeated and Panjshir is now under our command,” Reuters quoted one Taliban commander as saying.
The Emergency Hospital in Kabul said that at least 17 bodies and 41 wounded people were transferred to its facility because of harm caused by last night’s city-wide aerial firing. Injured and dead were also brought from the bordering Nangarhar province.
Meanwhile the United States Congress is expected to finance the United Nations’ humanitarian work in Afghanistan but is unlikely to directly fund a new Taliban-led government, according to US officials, as the world body prepares to discuss aid for the war-torn country.
UN chief Antonio Guterres is traveling to Geneva to convene a high-level conference on aid for Afghanistan on September 13.
Since the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, the US had set aside an estimated $130bn for security, governance, and development and humanitarian needs in Afghanistan.
Congressional aides told the Reuters news agency that lawmakers were nearly certain to provide humanitarian aid for internally displaced Afghans and refugees, but not to the government itself, at least for now.
Even before the Taliban victory, Afghanistan was heavily aid-dependent – with 40 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) drawn from foreign funding.
The UN has warned 18 million Afghans are facing a humanitarian disaster, and another 18 million could quickly join them. According to reports, as many as 500,000 could also flee the country for fear of the Taliban.
The Taliban has yet to form a government, but there have been reports that an announcement is imminent.
Meanwhile, fighting continues between the Taliban and resistance fighters in Panjshir Valley north of Kabul, raising fears of more civilians being displaced.
UN to convene Afghanistan aid conference on September 13
The United Nations will convene an international aid conference in Geneva on September 13 to help avert what UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called a “looming humanitarian catastrophe”.
“We need the international community to stand together and support the Afghan people,” Guterres said in a post on Twitter announcing the conference that he said would seek a swift scale-up in funding for humanitarian relief.
“We also appeal for full and unimpeded humanitarian access to make sure Afghans continue to get the essential services they need,” he said.