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At OIC summit, countries vow to provide aid to Afghanistan

They seek release of frozen funds to avert economic collapse

December 19, 2021 03:26 pm | Updated December 20, 2021 01:15 am IST - Islamabad

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar with Central Asian counterparts during the third India-Central Asia Dialogue of Foreign Ministers, in New Delhi on December 19, 2021.

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar with Central Asian counterparts during the third India-Central Asia Dialogue of Foreign Ministers, in New Delhi on December 19, 2021.

Islamic countries scrambled on Sunday to find ways to help Afghanistan avert an imminent economic collapse they say would have a “horrendous” global impact.

The hastily called meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Islamabad ended with a promise to set up a fund to provide humanitarian aid through the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), which would provide a cover for countries to donate without dealing directly with the country’s Taliban rulers.

In a press conference at the end of the summit, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Western delegates met with the Taliban team led by the Interim Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi.

Mr. Qureshi said West said he was mandated to “engage with the Taliban, and that U.S. humanitarian aid to Afghanistan would not carry preconditions and there could be as much as $1.2 billion available through the World Bank that could be released to Afghanistan.

There was no immediate response from the U.S. to Mr. Qureshi’s statements.

There has been a growing call for the U.S. and other countries to release upward of $10 billion in frozen Afghan assets. However, previously the U.S. has said at least some of that money is tied up in litigation involving the survivors and the families of victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks carried out by al-Qaeda while being harboured in Afghanistan by the Taliban.

Several nations called for a quick opening of the country’s banking system and collectively, with the UN and international banking institutions, to provide assistance to Afghanistan.

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