A train carrying 748 tons of humanitarian aid materials departed from Turkey to reach its final destination in Afghanistan on Thursday.
The aid campaign is being conducted through the contributions of civil society and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) under the coordination of Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) and the Turkish State Railways (TCDD), following President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's instructions to send a "train of kindness" to Afghanistan carrying humanitarian aid.
Aid workers will deliver hundreds of tons of food, clothing, blankets and hygiene materials brought to the country aboard the "kindness train," consisting of 46 wagons, to those in need in Afghanistan.
Speaking at the train's flagging off ceremony in Ankara, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said: “We are the country that has provided the most aid in the last four years. However, America and Europe are richer than us. We are the children of a nation that is rich at heart and sensitive to this issue."
Also speaking at the ceremony, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Adil Karaismailoğlu said Turkey has always proven that it stands with the oppressed and those in need of kindness.
The materials will be transported on TCDD wagons through Iran and then transferred to Turkmen wagons that will continue to Torghundi, Afghanistan's border station with Turkmenistan. The total journey will take 16 days.
Aid agencies describe Afghanistan's plight as one of the world's most rapidly growing humanitarian crises. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), half the population now faces acute hunger, over 9 million people have been displaced and millions of children are out of school.
Recently, the U.N. and its partners launched a $4.4 billion (TL 59 billion) funding appeal to avert a humanitarian catastrophe in Afghanistan in 2022.
U.N. chief Antonio Guterres has warned that millions of Afghans are on the verge of death, urging the international community to release Afghanistan's frozen assets and jump-start its banking system.