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UN chief says world must engage with Taliban to avoid Afghanistan’s collapse

UN chief Antonio Guterres calls for international engagement with the Taliban to avert an economic collapse in Afghanistan, insisting aid could be used as leverage to improve human rights.

Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of a donor conference for the conflict-torn country, Guterres says: “It is impossible to provide humanitarian assistance inside Afghanistan without engaging with the de facto authorities.

“It is very important to engage with the Taliban at the present moment,” he adds.

Humanitarian needs were already towering before the Taliban swept into power on August 15, says the UN secretary-general, urging the international community to “find ways to allow for an injection of cash in the Afghan economy.”

It was vital, he says, to allow the economy to breathe and avoid a collapse that would have “devastating consequences” for Afghanistan and the wider region.

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