ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s apex committee on Afghanistan on Friday pledged all-out support for Afghans as it welcomed the UN’s appeal for $5 billion in aid to avert a humanitarian catastrophe in Afghanistan.
The UN made its biggest-ever single-country aid appeal earlier this week, saying $4.4 billion was needed within Afghanistan, while a further $623 million was required to support the millions of Afghans sheltering beyond its borders.
Prime Minister Imran Khan welcomed the UN call during the apex committee’s meeting, which was attended by Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, federal ministers Fawad Chaudhry and Shah Mahmood Qureshi as well as National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf.
“Pakistan is committed to provide all out support to Afghan people to avert humanitarian crisis,” Khan said, as quoted in a series of tweets by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
“The Apex Committee again expressed concerns over the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan and vowed that Pakistan will not abandon Afghans in their time of need.”
“Pakistan is committed to provide all out support to Afghan people to avert humanitarian crisis,” said Prime Minister @ImranKhanPTI while chairing 3rd meeting of the Apex Committee on Afghanistan pic.twitter.com/2C3522ldxH
— Prime Minister's Office, Pakistan (@PakPMO) January 14, 2022
Pakistani authorities also renewed their call on the international community and relief agencies to help avert Afghanistan’s economic collapse.
“The Prime Minister directed the authorities concerned to explore bilateral cooperation with friendly countries as well to stave off humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan by exporting qualified and trained manpower especially in medical, IT, Finance and accounting,” the PM’s office said.
Pakistan has been lobbying world powers to come in aid of Afghanistan, and last month hosted the 17th Extraordinary Session of the OIC’s Council of Foreign Ministers. The meeting, called by Saudi Arabia, was focused on the economic crisis in Afghanistan. At the summit’s conclusion, OIC member states agreed to establish a Humanitarian Trust Fund to channel assistance, appoint a special envoy and work together with the UN in the war-ravaged country.
Islamabad has also announced 5 billion rupee ($28.4 million) in medical, food and other humanitarian assistance for its landlocked neighbor.
Afghanistan has been facing a looming humanitarian disaster since the Taliban took control of the country in August, prompting the US and other donor states to cut off financial assistance and isolate the country from the global financial system.
Afghanistan also suffered its worst drought in decades in 2021.
With the sudden suspension of aid, banks paralyzed, and food prices rising rapidly, nearly 23 million Afghans are now facing extreme levels of hunger and 9 million are at risk of famine, according to UN agencies.