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HomeInternationalWHO Hopes for Air Bridge into Afghanistan's Mazar-i-Sharif in Days

WHO Hopes for Air Bridge into Afghanistan’s Mazar-i-Sharif in Days

Medical supplies will run out within days in Afghanistan where the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday it hoped to establish an air bridge into the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif with the help of Pakistani authorities within that timeframe.

Trauma kits and emergency supplies for hospitals, as well as medicines for treating chronic malnutrition among children are among priority items, said Rick Brennan, WHO’s regional emergency director, describing the needs as “enormous and growing”.

At least one Islamic State suicide bomber killed 85 people, including 13 U.S. soldiers, outside the gates of Kabul airport in twin blasts on Thursday evening. [L1N2PY01Q]

“Right now because of security concerns and several other operational considerations, Kabul airport is not going to be an option for the next week at least,” Brennan, speaking from Cairo, told a U.N. briefing in Geneva.

“One of the problems we have in Afghanistan right now is there is no civil aviation authority functioning but we are working with Pakistan particularly in the context of Mazar-i-Sharif airport. Because they can work with contacts on the ground that all the necessary steps to land an aircraft, to land a cargo aircraft, can be put in place,” he said.

Turkey has not made a final decision on a Taliban request for support to run the Kabul airport after foreign forces withdraw over security concerns and uncertainty in Afghanistan, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday, adding talks were still underway.

Insurance rates for flying into Afghanistan have “skyrocketed at prices we have never seen before”, Brennan said.

“So we are trying to jump through that hoop at the moment and once we have addressed that we will hopefully be airborne in the next 48 to 72 hours.”

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