Head of the UN refugee agency is on his way to the war-torn country as officials stress on the importance of opening the land routes to deliver relief goods.

This picture taken on September 6, 2021 shows a view of an Afghan refugee camp inside the US military base in Ramstein, Germany.
This picture taken on September 6, 2021 shows a view of an Afghan refugee camp inside the US military base in Ramstein, Germany. (AFP)

The United Nations hopes to deliver aid to Afghanistan by land soon, a senior UN official said on Tuesday, adding that a new representative of the global body was en route to the war-torn country.

"We would like to see the beginning of road travel in from other countries for supplies," said Martin Griffiths, the undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator.

Griffiths, speaking via videoconference, met the war-wary nation's new Taliban leadership in Kabul on Sunday and Monday.

READ MORE: Afghan Taliban announces leader, key ministers in new caretaker government

For aid to flow however the new Afghan government must provide security.

"We need to see security to allow humanitarian delivery," Griffiths said.

A top Taliban leader has pledged to let aid workers operate safely and independently and reach the millions of Afghans in need. 

Griffiths met over the weekend with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a longtime Taliban leader. He was named on Tuesday to a Cabinet post in their interim government.

Now the UN officials are seeking to confirm in writing oral promises of security from the Taliban, who took over Afghanistan late last month after a lightning offensive as US troops withdrew.

"Humanitarian agencies around the world in every country need independence of assessment, delivery and monitoring of assistance, security and safety of national and international humanitarian workers ... and of their families," he said.

Griffiths also confirmed that the head of the UN refugee agency UNHCR, Filippo Grandi, was on his way to Afghanistan and hopes to be able to travel from Kabul to the southern city of Kandahar.

Last week the United Nations announced that humanitarian flights, including from Pakistan, had resumed to northern and southern Afghanistan.

Some 600,000 Afghans have been displaced this year due to the unrest, Griffiths said.

According to UN officials about half the country's population, or 18 million people, are in need of humanitarian assistance.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has called an international ministerial meeting in Geneva for Monday to increase humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.

UN officials are seeking $606 million to help the country through the end of the year.

Griffiths said he also broached women’s rights with Baradar and his advisers and was heard out, but the topic “needs further work.”

The Taliban have said they will rule inclusively and more moderately than they did from 1996 to 2001, but many Afghans, especially women, are deeply skeptical. 

Griffiths says the Taliban leaders appear more willing to engage with the international community than they were in the 1990s, when he also discussed humanitarian work with the militants. 

READ MORE: Key figures in Taliban's new government

But he says the challenge is “the process of the next many months, when the people of Afghanistan will be learning to live with their new rulers, and so will we.”

Source: TRTWorld and agencies