Executive director of the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) David Beasley has acknowledged Pakistan’s support for repairing damaged planes returning from Kabul and establishing a "humanitarian air bridge" to the war-torn country.
The WFP chief voiced his appreciation in a video from Islamabad airport which he posted on his official Twitter account on Thursday .
“Our damaged planes from Kabul have been repaired, and the WFP is now ready to establish a humanitarian air bridge between Islamabad-Kabul and other destinations in Afghanistan,” Beasley wrote.
“This will allow us to scale up to meet the needs of the Afghan people," he said.
In the video, Beasley said the Pakistan government “really helped” the WFP with overhauling and repairing the planes damaged in Kabul so that they could be put back in service.
Pointing to a passenger plane, he said: “We are about to do a test flight from Islamabad to Kabul that will be an air bridge, which hopefully goes well.”
He said the WFP was helping to evacuate passengers, UN personnel, and other humanitarian workers from Afghanistan.
“With all the devastation inside Afghanistan, we want to do what we can to bring life back to normal and give hope to people in desperation right now,” he said.
WFP chief calls on premier
The WFP executive director also called on Prime Minister Imran Khan later in the day and expressed gratitude for Pakistan’s role in facilitating the work of the UN agency in providing food assistance to people in Afghanistan.
According to a statement from the PM's office, Beasley also discussed ways of facilitating "the continued provision of humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people" with the premier.
The prime minister appreciated the role of the agency as the leading international humanitarian organisation for delivering food assistance in emergencies and for working with nations worldwide to improve nutrition and build resilience.
He underlined that Pakistan had been a beneficiary of various WFP projects that were being implemented in the country, and valued its partnership with the organisation.
Discussing the situation in Afghanistan, the premier reiterated that the formation of an inclusive government and positive engagement of the international community was the way forward to avert a humanitarian crisis and secure peace and stability in the country.