Six “Kindness Trains” loaded with about 7,000 tons of humanitarian aid sent by Türkiye provided a lifeline for Afghanistan, which has long faced a humanitarian crisis. More than 700,000 people in the Asian country, from the impoverished to disaster victims, orphans, widows and people with disabilities, benefited from Turkish aid so far.
Afghanistan found itself deprived of international humanitarian assistance when U.S.-led NATO forces withdrew in August 2021 and the Taliban took control of the country. For years the lack of assistance needed to ensure the welfare of the population in war-torn Afghanistan was economically devastating for the country.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has assigned the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) to coordinate the work to respond to the deepening humanitarian crisis. AFAD spearheaded the aid campaigns carried out by Turkish charities from all across the country. In a short time, trains were brimming with humanitarian aid, from food to hygiene kits.
Trains delivered aid to the 34 provinces of Afghanistan, with four separate mass deliveries in each province. The aid helps tens of thousands of families get through the harsh winter and includes blankets, winter clothes, flour, sugar, cooking oil and basic foodstuffs. The trains also carried aid for orphanages, schools, hospitals, centers for disadvantaged people and places of worship, from stationary to carpets and wheelchairs, from medicine to medical equipment.
AFAD, the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), Türkiye’s Maarif Foundation and Turkish Red Crescent undertook the delivery of the aid to families.
The "Kindness Trains" campaign is over but Turkish charities operating in the Afghan capital Kabul continue coordinating humanitarian assistance via other means to the people in need in the country.
Cihad Erginay, Türkiye’s ambassador in Kabul, says the aid will continue in other forms and noted that apart from trains, Türkiye delivered aid through international bodies and agencies, including the United Nations and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and several nongovernmental organizations.
“The international community exerts intense efforts to address the needs of people in the face of a great humanitarian crisis. Countries separately carry out aid campaigns and Türkiye leads in these individual efforts. Türkiye is the leading country providing aid to Afghanistan,” he told Anadolu Agency (AA) on Friday.
Erginay said this winter is expected to be colder and it is important to provide necessary aid for the people of Afghanistan, which needs aid “in every field you can imagine.”
The ambassador said people are grateful to donor countries, especially Türkiye. “They view how sincere Türkiye is in its assistance. We need to sustain this aid because statistics show a majority of the Afghan public face acute hunger and malnutrition is a serious issue, especially among mothers and children. This, in turn, paves the way for an unhealthy future generation and growing health problems, as well as the workload for hospitals and the overall healthcare system. We are trying to focus our aid efforts in this area,” he said. The ambassador said Türkiye recently provided aid to a children’s hospital in Kabul, which bears the name of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the Republic of Türkiye. The second largest children’s hospital in Afghanistan, the venue admits sick children from all around the country. Erginay said Türkiye recently covered most operating costs of the hospital.
“But in the end, humanitarian assistance is not sustainable. The international community should help the people of Afghanistan to stand on their own feet. So, we believe it is better now to concentrate on projects that will create jobs,” Erginay also said.