‘Afghanistan stands at the brink of an economic collapse,’ FM Qureshi warns during Troika Plus moot

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ISLAMABAD – Foreign Minister Shah Mahmmod Qureshi warned on Thursday that Afghanistan stood at the brink of an economic collapse and it is imperative for the international community to buttress the provision of humanitarian assistance on an urgent basis.

The foreign minister spoke at the opening of sessions of “troika plus” meeting, which was attended by US, Chinese, Russian and Taliban diplomats in Islamabad.

In his opening remarks, Qureshi welcomed the foreign delegates to the moot, saying: “Your presence here reflects our common desire to see a peaceful, stable, unified, sovereign and prosperous Afghanistan”.

He said that the Troika Plus is meeting after a gap of three months. During this period, Afghanistan has gone through a fundamental transformation. A new administration is functioning in Kabul.

He said that the engagement with Afghanistan must not only continue but should be enhanced for multiple reasons. “Nobody wishes to see a relapse into civil war, no one wants an economic collapse that will spur instability; everyone wants terrorist elements operating inside Afghanistan to be tackled effectively and; we all want to prevent a new refugee crisis. All of us have common concerns related to Afghanistan and also have a shared interest in the country’s peace and stability. And to bring that about, is a shared responsibility,” he said.

“We are confident that Troika Plus’s engagement with the new Afghan government will help consolidate peace and stability, promote sustainable economic development and help constrict space for terrorist outfits operating from and within Afghanistan,” the foreign minister said.

“Afghanistan stands at the brink of an economic collapse. With international funding dried up, it has become difficult to pay even salaries, let alone pursue development projects,” he highlighted.

The Pakistani minister said that the common man is reeling under the effects of a severe drought. Any further downward slide will severely limit the new administration’s capacity to run the government. It is, therefore, imperative for the international community to buttress provision of humanitarian assistance on an urgent basis. Health, education and municipal services require urgent attention.

“Enabling Afghanistan to access its frozen funds will dovetail into our efforts to regenerate economic activities and move the Afghan economy towards stability and sustainability. Similarly, the UN and its agencies must be urged to find ways to reach out to the common Afghan and help stabilize the situation,” he said.

Being an immediate neighbor, Pakistan has a direct stake in Afghanistan’s peace and stability Pakistan and Afghanistan have a shared heritage and history, he said.

“Located next door, we have borne the brunt of four decades of conflict and instability in the shape of refugees, drugs and terrorism. We see the current situation as an opportunity to end the prolonged conflict,” Qureshi said.

Pakistan has already taken a number of steps to facilitate the common man in Afghanistan. Some of these are: waiver of custom duties on perishable food items to support farmers in Afghanistan; provision of humanitarian assistance; facilitating pedestrian movement; keeping the border open during COVID-19 and; Visa on arrival for medical cases.

Read more: https://pakobserver.net/afghan-fm-amir-khan-muttaqi-arrives-in-islamabad-on-key-visit/

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