Pakistan renews pledge it will not abandon Afghans

Premier welcomes UN appeal for aid to neighbouring country


Our Correspondent January 15, 2022
Afghans line up outside a bank to take out their money after Taliban takeover in Kabul, Afghanistan September 1, 2021. REUTERS

ISLAMABAD:

Pakistan on Friday renewed its pledge that it will not abandon Afghans in their time of need while again expressing its concerns over the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the war-torn neighbouring country.

“Pakistan is committed to providing all-out support to the Afghan people to avert a humanitarian crisis," Prime Minister Imran Khan vowed while chairing the third meeting of the Apex Committee on Afghanistan. “We welcome the UN appeal for aid to Afghanistan,” he added.

The committee renewed its appeal to the international community and relief agencies to provide aid at this critical juncture to avert an economic collapse and save precious lives in Afghanistan. The prime minister directed the authorities concerned to explore bilateral cooperation with friendly countries as well to stave off a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan by exporting qualified and trained manpower -- especially in medical, IT, finance and accounting.

He also ordered extending cooperation in the fields of railways, minerals, pharmaceuticals and media to help in Afghanistan’s rehabilitation and development. Earlier, the committee was updated on the progress made on relief of in-kind humanitarian assistance worth Rs5 billion which comprises food commodities including 50,000 metric tons of wheat, emergency medical supplies, winter shelters and other supplies.

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The meeting was attended by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid, Adviser to the PM on Commerce Abdul Razzak Dawood, National Security Adviser Dr Moeed Yusuf, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa and other senior civil and military officers.The apex committee was informed that Afghanistan was on the verge of a crisis during this harsh winter.

The crisis makes it difficult for the people to acquire enough food and shelter. The committee resolved to stand together with the Afghan people and urged relief agencies to take immediate action.

A day earlier, the Taliban said they had approved their first budget for Afghanistan since the group returned to power in August, with no mention of foreign aid. International assistance represented 40% of Afghanistan's GDP and made up 80% of its budget when the former US-backed government was in control.

When it crumbled in August and the Taliban took command, Western powers froze billions of dollars in aid and assets in what the UN described as an "unprecedented fiscal shock". "For the first time in the last two decades, we made a budget that is not dependent on foreign aid and that is a very big achievement for us," said Taliban finance ministry spokesman Ahmad Wali Haqmal.

(With input from agencies)

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