The UK is ready to offer aid to Afghanistan following a deadly earthquake which has killed 1,000, but relief will not be channeled through the Taliban.
Helicopters were sent to joint the rescue effort by the Islamist rulers of Afghanistan, with interior ministry official Salahuddin Ayubi saying “the death toll is likely to rise as some of the villages are in remote areas in the mountains and it will take some time to collect details”.
According to the Telegraph, Bilal Karimi, a deputy spokesman for Afghanistan’s government, said: “We urge all aid agencies to send teams to the area immediately to prevent further catastrophe.”
This comes after the Taliban took over Afghanistan earlier in the year, leading to a major economic crisis, focussed on food shortages. Sanctions were also imposed on the country.
The government confirmed it would be “ready” to support the relief effort, and that aid wold be channelled through UN partners and NGOs – and not the Taliban.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss tweeted: “My thoughts are with all those affected by the devastating earthquake in Afghanistan. The UK stands ready to support them at this difficult time.”
Lord Ahmad, a FCDO minister for the region including Afghanistan, tweeted he was “deeply saddened” and his “thoughts are with all those affected.”
The earthquake was the worst in the country since 2002, striking about 30 miles from the border with Pakistan, in a mountainous and remote region, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
At least 1,000 have been reported dead with 600 injured, but local sources place the figure much higher.
Haibatullah Akhundzada, the head of the Taliban, offered his condolences in a statement.
According to Reuters tremors of the 6.1 magnitude quake were felt by more than 100m in Pakistan, and even as far as India.