OIC countries pledge funds to prevent economic collapse in Afghanistan

OIC countries pledge funds to prevent economic collapse in Afghanistan

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has pledged to establish a humanitarian trust fund for Afghanistan, where millions of people suffer from hunger and poverty.

The crisis caused concern, as the international community froze billions of dollars in aid and property after the Taliban seized control of the country in August of this year.

“Unless immediate action is taken, Afghanistan is heading towards chaos,” Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is holding the summit, said at a meeting of the foreign ministers of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

“Any government that cannot pay the salaries of its officials, its hospitals, its doctors, its nurses, every government will collapse, but chaos does not suit anyone, and it certainly does not suit the United States.”

A decision by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation after the meeting stated that the Islamic Development Bank would lead the way in opening aid by the first quarter of 2022.

It also urged Afghan rulers to abide by the “obligations enshrined in international human rights instruments, particularly with regard to the rights of women, children, youth, the elderly and people with special needs”.

The meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference did not give official international recognition to the new Taliban government, and Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Mottaki was excluded from the official photo taken at the event.

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Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Mottaki has arrived to attend the opening of a special meeting of the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Islamabad. [Farooq Naeem/AFP]

Mottaki said his government “has the right to officially recognize it.”

“The current Afghan government is cooperating with every foreign organization,” he told reporters, adding that “the sanctions must be lifted.”

He told delegates that the US asset freeze was “a clear violation of the human rights of Afghans and could be interpreted as hostility toward an entire nation.”

Economics in ‘free fall’

When some countries and organizations began to provide assistance, the almost complete collapse of the country’s banking system made their work even more difficult.

Also attending the OIC meeting was Martin Griffiths, UN Deputy Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, who warned that the Afghan economy was “now in a free fall”.

“If we do not act decisively and sympathetically, I fear the whole population will be drawn in this fall,” he said in his remarks.

Twenty-three million people are already starving. Health facilities are teeming with malnourished children; About 70 percent of teachers are not getting paid and millions of children, the future of Afghanistan will not go to school.”

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said opening financial and banking channels was necessary “because the economy is not working and people cannot be helped without a banking system”.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, left, speaks with delegates at the opening of the special meeting of the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Islamabad. [Farooq Naeem/AFP]

In addition to immediate aid, Afghanistan also needs help in ensuring long-term economic stability.

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Much will depend on Washington’s willingness to release billions of dollars in central bank reserves and lift sanctions that have prevented many institutions and governments from dealing directly with the Taliban.

Mottaki stressed that the Taliban would not allow Afghanistan to be used as a base to launch attacks on other countries, and said they would not respond to officials of the previous government.

However, the Taliban has been heavily criticized for keeping women and girls out of work and education, and for excluding large segments of Afghan society from government.

They were also accused of human rights abuses and, despite their promise of amnesty, attacked officials in the previous government.

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