Countries pledge over $1 billion in Afghan aid

The United Nations has held a conference on humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan. Participating countries have collectively pledged a total of more than 1 billion dollars.

Representatives from governments around the world took part in the ministerial-level conference in Geneva on Monday.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Afghans are facing "perhaps their most perilous hour" after decades of war and suffering.

He said, "this conference is not simply about what we will give to the people of Afghanistan. It is about what we owe."

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, spoke to participants online from Kabul to warn of a "much greater displacement" of Afghans. He said, "this may happen very soon."

During the meeting, the United States pledged nearly 64 million dollars in new humanitarian aid. But the country expressed its misgivings about the Taliban's control of Afghanistan, with its representative saying there were reports of the group blocking the delivery of aid.

A Chinese delegate insisted that the international community can play a role in the peaceful reconstruction of Afghanistan by respecting the country's sovereignty. Beijing pledged to send food, vaccines and other supplies.

Japan announced that it is ready to provide 65 million dollars in new assistance.