India, Taiwan send Afghan earthquake relief
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India, Taiwan send Afghan earthquake relief

India has sent a technical team to Kabul to coordinate the delivery of humanitarian aid after a powerful earthquake in eastern Afghanistan that killed 1,000 people.

India’s foreign ministry said the team has been deployed to its embassy in the Afghan capital.

The embassy has been vacant since the Taliban recaptured control of Afghanistan in August.

India, Taiwan send Afghan quake aid | The Senior | Senior

A statement from the ministry on Thursday said the team had been sent to “closely monitor and coordinate the efforts of various stakeholders for the effective delivery of humanitarian aid” as part of a “continuation of our engagement with the Afghan people”.

Residents of the hardest-hit district, which lies in a remote mountainous country some 100 miles (160 km) southeast of the capital Kabul, appeared largely alone in their efforts to survive the earthquake as the Taliban-led government and the international aid community struggled to get help.

India was left without a diplomatic presence in Kabul after it evacuated its personnel ahead of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan last year.

But it has since sent 20,000 tons of wheat, 13 tons of medicines, 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, and winter clothing to Afghanistan to help with the shortages, the state ministry said.

Indian officials held talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan for the first time early this month to discuss the distribution of humanitarian aid.

Aid has also arrived from neighboring Pakistan, sending food and other relief supplies across the border from Peshawar.

Meanwhile, Taiwan will donate $1 million to Afghan earthquake relief efforts in response to a call from the United Nations and others for humanitarian aid, the government said late Thursday.

Taiwan is not a UN member under pressure from China – which considers the democratically governed island part of its territory – but always wants to show that it is a responsible member of the international community.

Taiwan’s presidential office said in a statement that the government would donate “based on the spirit of humanitarian concern for disaster relief regardless of national borders(s) in response to the United Nations and other humanitarian calls”.

Taiwan is also earthquake-prone and regularly sends rescue teams to other disaster areas worldwide.

China has said it is ready to provide aid to Afghanistan but has not yet provided details.

Taiwan and China have discussed humanitarian aid to Ukraine, with Taipei donating more than $30 million for refugees and reconstruction and Beijing about $3 million.

China accuses Taiwan of using donations for political purposes. This was strongly rejected by the government in Taipei, which said the aid came “from our hearts”.

– with coverage from Reuters