Turkish “Goodness Trains” provide relief to more than 700,000 Afghans

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Turkish “good trains” have transported about 7,000 tons of humanitarian aid to more than 700,000 Afghans to help alleviate the worsening humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

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With the withdrawal of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces, led by the United States of America, from Afghanistan in August 2021 and the arrival of the Taliban to power, the country suddenly found itself deprived of international aid in light of its exposure to a stifling economic crisis.

6 trains (trains of goodness) arrived in Afghanistan, loaded with tons of humanitarian aid for the Afghan people, to contribute to addressing the acute humanitarian crisis, in line with the directives of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with the coordination of the Ministry of Interior and the Presidency of Disaster and Emergency Management (AFAD), and with the support of Turkish non-governmental organizations.

About 7 thousand tons of aid were distributed in 34 Afghan provinces containing winter clothes, blankets, flour, sugar, oil, pasta, legumes and tomatoes to support tens of thousands of needy families.

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A wide range of orphanages, schools, places of worship and hospitals were also provided with humanitarian aid and other materials such as stationery, carpets, wheelchairs, medicines and health supplies.

Boxes of aid have also been delivered to hundreds of Afghan families affected by earthquakes and floods in the country during the summer months.

The aid was distributed to needy Afghan families under the supervision of the Turkish Embassy in Kabul and with the coordination of Turkish institutions operating in Afghanistan such as AFAD, the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), the Turkish Knowledge Endowment, the Turkish Red Crescent and the Afghan Red Crescent, in the presence of representatives of Turkish institutions at each distribution point.

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Ankara’s ambassador to Kabul, Jihad Arkinay, said: Turkey will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people to alleviate the humanitarian crisis.

He stressed that Afghanistan is suffering from a severe humanitarian crisis, which prompted Turkey to send shipments of humanitarian aid through “trains of goodness.”

He appealed to international organizations such as the United Nations, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and non-governmental organizations to contribute to alleviating the negative effects of the humanitarian crisis suffered by the Afghan people.

Arkinay pointed out that Turkey is actively contributing to the efforts made by the international community to meet the needs of the Afghan people, and that the six “good trains” have provided direct humanitarian and food aid to between 70 and 75 thousand families, or between 700 and 750 thousand people.

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Arkinay stated that expectations indicate that the current winter will be the harshest in years, stressing the importance of responding to calls for humanitarian aid launched by international institutions for the benefit of the Afghan people.

He stressed that Afghanistan needs urgent assistance in all fields, and said that the people in Afghanistan express at every opportunity their gratitude for the Turkish aid, which occupies the forefront.

He continued, “It is important that these assistance activities continue in the coming period, because statistics show that, unfortunately, the majority of the population lives below the poverty line.”

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And he added, “Malnutrition has become a very important problem in Afghanistan, especially among children and mothers, which increases pressure on hospitals and creates many needs in the health system. We are trying to help in this field as well.”

Arkinay stated that Turkey has also provided urgent aid to Ataturk Children’s Hospital in Kabul, which is the second largest children’s hospital in Afghanistan.

Arkinay said that the Turkish teams faced many difficulties in delivering aid inside Afghanistan because of the rough roads.

And he added, “But we overcame all these problems and tried as much as possible to reach remote places and villages that had not received aid before.”

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He concluded by saying, “However, humanitarian aid activities in Afghanistan are still not sustainable. To rise again, the Afghan people need real efforts by the international community.”