Afghanistan on brink of collapse because of frozen assets that the US will not release to allow the country to operate, was a statement released by both the Pakistani, Swedish ministers.
Afghanistan plunged into crisis after the Taliban drove out the Western-backed government in August triggering the abrupt end of billions of dollars in assistance to its aid-dependent economy.
Many countries and multilateral institutions have halted development assistance but increased humanitarian aid since August, reluctant to legitimise the new Taliban rulers.
The United States, China and other major powers set out a framework for formal recognition of Afghanistan’s new rulers and for the removal of United Nations sanctions on Taliban members, including some members of the new government.
Frozen assets need to be unfrozen for Afghanistan to operate
Pakistani Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry told Reuters that direct engagement with the Taliban was the only way to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe, and called for billions of dollars of Afghan assets frozen overseas to be released.
“Are we going to push Afghanistan into chaos or are we going to try and stabilise the country?” he said in Dubai.
Engagement would also encourage the protection of human rights and the establishment of an inclusive, constitutional government, he said.
Swedish development minister Per Olsson Fridh echoed the sentiment but cautioned against the release of money to the Taliban.
He said economic freefall could provide an environment for terrorist groups to thrive, but that Sweden would not channel money through the Taliban, instead of boosting its humanitarian contributions through Afghan civil society groups.