ISLAMABAD: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday applauded Pakistan for hosting the 17th Extraordinary Session of the Organization of Islamic Corporation’s Council of Foreign Ministers, saying the gathering reflected the international community’s collective resolve to help the people of Afghanistan.
The summit was held in Islamabad on Sunday with a focus on the looming economic and humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan after the Taliban returned to power in August while the US-led foreign forces were still pulling out of the war-battered country.
The political shift made donor countries cut off financial assistance to Afghanistan and isolate it from the global financial system, paralyzing its banks.
The OIC conference was convened to devise a way to help the Afghan people amid a gradual economic meltdown of their state.
“The OIC Extraordinary Session on Afghanistan is a prime example of our collective determination and action to help those most in-need,” Blinken said in a Twitter post. “We thank Pakistan for hosting this vital meeting & inviting the global community to continue cooperating to support the Afghan people.”
The summit was attended by about 70 delegations from OIC member states, non-members and regional and international organizations.
US Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West was also one of the participants who later met top Pakistani officials as well.
Blinken’s statement comes at a time when the bilateral relations between the two countries seem to be under pressure. US officials for many years have maintained they did not receive requisite support from Pakistan to win the war in Afghanistan.
The situation became even worse after the arrival of President Joe Biden who refused to speak to Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, even as his administration officials continued their engagements with Islamabad.
The United Nations, meanwhile, has warned nearly 23 million people — about 55 percent of the population of Afghanistan — face extreme levels of hunger, with nearly 9 million at risk of famine as winter takes hold in the impoverished, landlocked country.