Wednesday, 26 January, 2022

Imran slams US for humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday made veiled criticism of the United States for creating in Afghanistan a humanitarian crisis that is affecting millions of people and allowing it to worsen, reports Dawn.

“A man-made crisis is being created despite knowing that it can be averted if (Afghanistan’s) accounts (in the US) are unfrozen and liquidity is put into their banking system,” PM Khan said while speaking at a ceremony held at Foreign Office to celebrate the successful holding of the extraordinary session of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers.

The humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan caused by drought and decades of conflict has been aggravated by the economic crunch resulting from US sanctions and assets freeze after Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan. The US has frozen nearly $9.5 billion of Afghan reserves in American banks on the pretext that court rulings in cases filed by the victims of 9/11 and those who suffered because of the Taliban required the executive to do so. Washington has indicated that it may show greater flexibility about sanctions on Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, but that frozen funds cannot be released.

The OIC CFM was held to deliberate on the growing crisis in Afghanistan and the 57-member Muslim bloc decided to set up a Humanitarian Trust Fund that is expected to channel aid to the war-ravaged country. A food security programme is also being initiated.

Khan said dealing with the crisis in Afghanistan would need a “constant struggle”. At the same time, he laid emphasis on the urgency of the crisis-like situation saying “time was of the essence”.

The prime minister appreciated the FO for increased global support for Pakistan’s stance on Afghanistan. He then criticised the foreign policy pursued by the past governments, especially the decision to join the war on terror, which he described as “a self-inflicted wound”.