Pakistan vows not to ‘abandon Afghan people in time of need’


While chairing the third meeting of the Apex Committee on Afghanistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said that Pakistan is “committed to provide all-out support to the Afghan people to avert a humanitarian crisis”.

“We welcome the United Nations (UN) appeal for aid to Afghanistan,” he added.

The committee again expressed concerns over the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan and vowed that Pakistan will not abandon Afghans in their time of need.

It renewed its appeal to the international community and relief agencies to provide aid at this critical juncture to avert economic collapse and to save precious lives in Afghanistan.

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.

He also directed to extend cooperation in the fields of railways, minerals, pharmaceuticals and media to help in Afghanistan’s rehabilitation and development.

Read more: First consignment of aid dispatched to Afghanistan

Earlier, the committee was updated on the progress made on relief of in-kind humanitarian assistance worth Rs5 billion which comprises food commodities including 50,000MT of wheat, emergency medical supplies, winter shelters and other supplies.

The apex committee was informed that Afghanistan is on the verge of a hunger and crisis situation during this harsh winter. The crisis makes it difficult for the people to get enough food and shelter.

The committee resolved to stand together with the Afghan people and urged relief agencies to take immediate action.

The meeting was attended by Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid, Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razzak Dawood, National Security Adviser Dr Moeed Yousaf, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa and senior civil and military officers.

Also read: UN seeks record $5b in aid for Afghanistan to avert ‘humanitarian catastrophe’

A day earlier, the Taliban said they had approved their first budget for Afghanistan since the group returned to power in August, with no mention of foreign aid.

International assistance represented 40% of Afghanistan’s GDP and made up 80% of its budget when the former US-backed government was in control.

When it crumbled in August and the Taliban took command, Western powers froze billions of dollars in aid and assets in what the United Nations described as an “unprecedented fiscal shock”.

“For the first time in the last two decades, we made a budget that is not dependent on foreign aid and that is a very big achievement for us,” said Taliban finance ministry spokesman Ahmad Wali Haqmal.

(With additional input from Reuters)

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