Delegates from the 57 Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries gathered on December 19 in a special session in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad to set up a humanitarian trust for Afghanistan as the country faces a harsh winter where millions of people could starve. The conference was the largest international summit on Afghanistan since the Taliban overthrew the US-backed Afghan government in August.

The OIC pledged “to unblock financial and banking channels to resume liquidity and the flow of financial and humanitarian aid.” Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi announced the development fund and said it would be set up under the auspices of the Islamic Development Bank, although it is not clear whether the effort will be successful. .

What did the host country, Pakistan, say about Afghanistan?

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has warned that millions could starve to death and chaos could engulf the country if the situation is not urgently addressed. “Unless action is taken immediately, Afghanistan is heading for chaos,” Khan said. Khan urged the United States to “dissociate” aid to the Afghan people from the Taliban government that his country helped install in Kabul. He suggested that Western human rights ideals might not match the reality on the ground and cautioned, “Every society’s idea of ​​human rights is different.

As concerns grow about the level of crisis Afghanistan faces, the international response has lagged behind. Western governments are reluctant to help the Taliban for fear of giving them legitimacy.

How grim is the situation in Afghanistan this winter?

In a statement, meeting participants said allowing Afghanistan access to frozen foreign reserves abroad would be key to preventing economic collapse. Representatives from the United Nations, the United States, the EU and Japan all observed the conference. It was not specified how much the humanitarian fund would contain. No recognition was given to the Taliban at the conference.

Afghan Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi told delegates: “We cannot ignore the danger of complete economic collapse. More than 20 million Afghans have faced famine since the Taliban invaded the capital Kabul in mid-August. The near total collapse of the Afghan banking system has complicated the already complex issue of delivering humanitarian aid. Afghan banks have remained largely closed since August 15, when the Taliban took control of Kabul and withdrawals were limited to $ 200 (€ 178) per month.

Thousands of people stood in the cold on December 19 in search of an exodus from their war-torn nation as they waited for passports since the country began reissuing them. The Taliban have prevented women from working and girls from accessing education since taking power earlier this year. They also targeted officials of the former government backed by the United States and NATO.

ar / wd (AFP, dpa, Reuters)