The Taliban in Afghanistan have appealed for international support, as the country deals with the aftermath of a devastating 6.1 magnitude earthquake.
Reports say that More than 1,000 people have died and at least 1,500 were injured. Paktika province in the south-east has been the most affected. The UN is scrambling to provide emergency shelter and food aid.
The deadliest earthquake to strike the country in two decades is a major challenge for the Taliban, the Islamist movement which regained power last year after the Western-backed government collapsed.
Haibatullah Akhundzadah, the Taliban’s supreme leader, made an unusual appeal to the world community and humanitarian organizations to “assist the Afghan people afflicted by this enormous tragedy and to spare no effort.” He almost seldom makes an appearance in public.
Antonio Guterres, the secretary-general of the United Nations, declared that the organization had “completely mobilized” to assist, and UN authorities confirmed the deployment of medical teams as well as supplies of food, medicine, trauma kits, and emergency shelter to the earthquake zone.
The rescue effort will be a significant test for the hard-line Islamist Taliban authorities, who gained control of the nation in August of last year after 20 years of war and are mostly cut off from outside aid due to sanctions. Rescue efforts are being coordinated by the Taliban-led ministry of defense.