Afghan conference raises $US1 billion

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A United Nations-hosted international aid conference for Afghanistan raised more than $US1 billion ($A1.4 billion) in aid for the suffering population, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres says.

But the pledges were paired with demands that the Taliban, now in charge of the country, take steps to respect human rights.

It was the first donor conference since the militant Islamist movement took power in August. Many states made it clear in Geneva on Monday that they were not attaching any conditions to their short-term humanitarian support.

However, further cooperation with the Taliban regime will depend on their treatment of foreign aid workers, women, children and minorities.

"I think this is also something that gives the international community leverage," Guterres said.

The United Nations had estimated that Afghanistan needs more than $US600 million ($A815 million) up to the end of the year to avoid malnutrition and a collapse in public services. Food scarcity has worsened dramatically since the Taliban takeover of the country last month.

Guterres could not say, however, how much of the funding would go towards the UN emergency budget for the coming months, and how much would be provided later or in another form.

The Taliban on Monday called on the international community to cooperate with them in order to help the people of Afghanistan.

"The world should cooperate with us," Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid told dpa. "Security has been maintained in the country and the people are in economic trouble; food is scarce, medicine is scarce."

Guterres convened the meeting, telling the more than 40 ministers attending the event in person, and many more online, that "the people of Afghanistan need a lifeline."

The UN estimates that there are already food shortages in 93 per cent of the country's homes.

According to UN authorities, basic services in Afghanistan are on the verge of collapse since international troops withdrew from Afghanistan after a 20-year deployment there. Humanitarian aid is intended to maintain medical services, water supply and sanitation facilities.

In addition, protection measures for children and women, emergency shelters and schools are to be financed.

Aid workers also need money to support the 3.5 million displaced people in the country and the more than two million Afghan refugees in neighbouring countries.

The United States has demanded written guarantees from the Taliban in return for supplying Afghanistan with humanitarian aid, Washington's UN ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said at the conference.

"Words are not good enough. We must see action," she said, stressing that the rights of aid organisations, women and minorities are at stake.

"Humanitarian aid agencies cannot do their job if the Taliban do not uphold these core commitments and humanitarian principles," Thomas-Greenfield added, addressing the conference via video link.

She announced new US aid of almost $US64 million ($A87 million).

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said he wanted to further increase aid for people in need in Afghanistan.

"Germany has already increased its humanitarian aid to Afghanistan and the region by 100 million euros ($A160 million)," Maas said at the conference.

"We plan to provide another 500 million euros ($A802 million) to support Afghanistan and its neighbouring states."

At the same time, he called on the new rulers in Afghanistan to guarantee safe access for humanitarian aid.

UN Refugee Commissioner Filippo Grandi warned on Sunday that a "resurgence of fighting, human rights violations or the collapse of the economy and basic social services" could lead many more Afghans to flee abroad.

Grandi arrived in Kabul on Monday to assess the needs of displaced Afghans and conduct talks with the Taliban about access to the country. He was met at the airport by Khalil Haqqani, the Taliban's minister of refugees, who is also designated a global terrorist by the United States and has a 5-million-dollar bounty on him. He is also on the UN's sanctions list for his links with al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

Discussions have swirled as to how much legitimacy other countries should extend to the Taliban, such as formal recognition of their government and long-term development projects.

Employees of UN agencies in Afghanistan are increasingly subject to attacks and intimidation by the Taliban, according to UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet, who also said that the Taliban had been conducting targeted house-to-house searches for people whom they believe had once worked for the US military or US companies.

"A number of similar incidents have affected UN staff, who report increasing attacks and threats," Bachelet said.

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