Looming crisis in Afghanistan directly affects Pakistan and Iran, PM Khan says

TEHRAN – Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has criticized the continued freezing of Afghan assets by the United States as the war-affected country grapples with a looming humanitarian crisis, warning that the deteriorating situation will cause more problems for Pakistan and Iran as neighbors of Afghanistan, IRNA reported Thursday.

Addressing the 2021 Islamabad conclave under the theme “Peaceful and Prosperous South Asia” organized by the Islamabad Institute for Strategic Studies (ISSI), Khan described the situation in Afghanistan as worrying and called for global efforts to resolve the humanitarian crisis in Central Asia. country.

The prime minister said the looming humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan would force Afghans to flock to Iran and Pakistan.

Iran and Pakistan have hosted millions of Afghans since the Soviet Union invaded the country in late 1979.

“We are doing our best to inform the world that despite their sympathy or dislike for the Taliban, the main concern should be the 40 million Afghans, and what they will face if the current situation persists.” , IRNA said, quoting the prime minister. as told.

In addition to the looming humanitarian crisis, Afghan citizens have been targeted by the terrorist group Daesh. Kunduz’s brutal attacks in Kandahar as well as a raid on a military hospital in Kabul are examples.

Peace in the war-torn country, Prime Minister Khan stressed, was important to Pakistan, especially in light of the country’s geo-economic goal.

The Pakistani leader’s comments come as foreign ministers of OIC member states are due to hold a meeting in Islamabad on December 19 to assess developments in Afghanistan and review the humanitarian crisis in the country.

The UN humanitarian aid chief warned that Afghanistan’s economic collapse “is happening before our eyes” and urged the international community to take action to stop “the free fall” before it do no more deaths.

Martin Griffiths said Thursday in an interview with The Associated Press that donor countries must agree that in addition to emergency humanitarian assistance, they must support basic services for the Afghan people, including education, hospitals, electricity and paying civil servants – and they must inject cash into the economy which has seen the banking system “” pretty well shut down. “

“We find that the economic collapse is exponential,” he said. “It gets more and more serious from week to week.”

Griffiths said the cash flow issue needs to be sorted out by the end of the year and the money needs to flow to frontline service workers over the winter, adding he had to reconsider his opinion earlier that Afghanistan could spend the winter with pure humanitarian aid because of the deteriorating economic situation.

As an example, he said, 4 million children are out of school and 9 million more will soon be and the reason is simple: 70% of teachers have not been paid since August. “And if we don’t succeed, this whole discussion about the right of women and girls to go to school becomes academic,” he said.

“So my message today is a wake-up call on the humanitarian consequences of an economic collapse and the need for urgent action,” Griffiths said.

The Taliban invaded most of Afghanistan as US and NATO forces were in the final stages of their chaotic withdrawal from the country after 20 years. Taliban forces entered Kabul on August 15 without any resistance from the Afghan army or the country’s president, Ashraf Ghani, who fled. The Taliban initially promised tolerance and inclusiveness towards women and ethnic minorities, but their actions so far, including further restrictions on women and the appointment of an all-male government, have been met with dismay. by the international community.

The Afghan central bank’s $ 9 billion in reserves, most of which is held in the United States, have been frozen and the International Monetary Fund has frozen around $ 450 million due to a “lack of clarity” on a new government.

The Taliban leadership has banned all foreign currency transactions and urged the United States to ease sanctions and release Afghan assets abroad so the government can pay teachers, doctors and others in the industry. public.

Griffiths said the UN was asking for money from the United States and other donors, which he insisted will not go to the Taliban but through UN channels to directly reach out to them. people who need it – teachers, doctors, electricity providers and other government officials.

Griffiths said the consequences of the collapsing Afghan economy are becoming increasingly apparent – reports of hospitals without power, severe malnutrition and three or four children in a hospital bed, and tens of thousands of unpaid doctors, teachers and civil servants struggling to survive.

He recalled that the United States has always supported the supply of electricity in Afghanistan, but 80% of the sources of electricity are “now on the verge of shutdown, and without electricity you have automatic consequences”.

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