Afghanistan is on the brink of economic collapse and the international community must urgently resume funding and provide humanitarian assistance, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister warned on Thursday.
The statement came as U.S., Chinese, Russian and Taliban diplomats met in Islamabad. Shah Mehmood Qureshi spoke at the opening of the so-called “troika plus” meeting, which included Thomas West, the new U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan. The delegates also met later on Thursday with Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi.
“Today, Afghanistan stands on the brink of an economic collapse,” Mr. Qureshi said, adding that any further downward slide would “severely limit” the new Taliban Government’s ability to run the country. “It is, therefore, imperative for the international community to buttress provision of humanitarian assistance on an urgent basis.”
That included enabling Afghanistan to access funds frozen by Western donors since the Taliban took control of the country in August, he added. Resuming the flow of funding “will dovetail into our efforts to regenerate economic activities and move the Afghan economy towards stability and sustainability”.
Doing so would benefit Western countries also, he argued later. “If you think that you are far, Europe is safe and those areas you imagine will not be affected by terrorism, don’t forget the history,” he said. “We have learned from the history and we don’t want to repeat those mistakes made in the past.”