ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Monday the United States should reconsider its position on Afghanistan given that the country was facing an acute humanitarian crisis and looming economic meltdown and a majority of its population faced extreme hunger.
The Taliban took back power in Afghanistan in August, almost 20 years after they were ousted in a US-led invasion for refusing to hand over al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden following the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
Since the fall of Kabul, billions of dollars in assets parked overseas with the US Federal Reserve and other central banks in Europe have been frozen. The US and the international community have made an inclusive government and women's rights key elements of any future engagement with Afghanistan.
The United Nations is warning that nearly 23 million people - about 55 percent of the Afghan population - face extreme levels of hunger, with nearly 9 million at risk of famine as winter takes hold in the impoverished, landlocked country.
“In view of the [Afghan] people, the United States should reconsider its decision,” Qureshi said.
His comments came a day after the conclusion of the 17th Extraordinary Session of the OIC’s Council of Foreign Ministers, called by Saudi Arabia and hosted at the Parliament House in Islamabad. The purpose of the summit was to rally Muslim and other countries and international institutions to come in aid of Afghanistan.
Participating OIC nations decided to establish a humanitarian trust fund to channel humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, including in partnership with other international actors, and to appoint a special envoy on Afghanistan to the OIC Secretary General.
“Setting up a trust fund for Afghanistan was a success [of the OIC summit],” the foreign minister said. “We also passed a resolution on the restoration of Afghanistan's banking system.”
“Pakistan and Saudi Arabia together played their role [in making the summit possible],” Qureshi added.