India's donation of COVID-19 vaccines to Afghanistan has been lauded by top UN officials and diplomats from Kabul, as the war-torn country undertakes a vaccination campaign to combat the deadly virus.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' Special Representative for Afghanistan and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) Deborah Lyons told the UN Security Council on Tuesday that Afghanistan for now, seems to have weathered the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While we must remain vigilant about a potential third wave, vaccinations have now begun, thanks to the donations from the Government of India and the support of the COVAX facility. As the vaccination campaign continues to ramp up, we must continue to ensure that vaccines reach all prioritised groups across the country,” she told the Council meeting on Afghanistan.
In her remarks to the Council, Afghanistan's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Adela Raz also expressed gratitude to India for providing the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccines to her country.
“We also need to vaccinate all Afghans against COVID-19 to recover from the pandemic. The vaccination campaign has started and we are grateful to COVAX and our bilateral donors, notably India and China, (for) providing the first doses,” she said.
India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador T S Tirumurti told the Council that India extended humanitarian assistance of 75,000 MT of wheat to Afghanistan through Chabahar Port to overcome food insecurity in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Further, as a part of our endeavour to help Afghanistan tide over the COVID-19 pandemic, we have contributed to the supply of 968,000 doses of Made-in-India vaccines to Afghanistan, 500,000 of which were supplied by India as a grant,” he said.
According to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus data, Afghanistan has reported 56,177 COVID-19 cases and 2,466 deaths.