KABUL: The UN has launched a $550 million humanitarian appeal for Afghanistan, where about a third of the population is in need of assistance.
Around 9.3 million people will be in need of help this year, a 13 percent jump from last year, according to the UN.
The increase is due to the number of people in Afghanistan fleeing their homes in 2016 because of fighting between government forces and Taliban insurgents, and the unanticipated influx of Afghans returning suddenly from Pakistan, the UN said.
“The current scale of need in Afghanistan calls upon the humanitarian community to deliver increased levels of assistance to ensure the lives of many Afghans are not endangered,” UN Humanitarian Coordinator Mark Bowden said in a statement.
According to the UN, more than half a million Afghans were internally displaced by the conflict last year and more than 600,000 Afghan refugees were forced to return to the country from neighboring Pakistan and Iran, draining local resources.
Meanwhile, an Afghan government official said that two people, including a police commander, had been killed in an explosion in the country’s north after a sticky bomb was attached to the commander’s car.
Spokesman Munir Ahmed Farhad said the bomb went off on Friday in Balkh province as the car entered a stadium where the popular ancient sport of Buzkashi is played.
The explosion also wounded two other people.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.