Pakistan bats for Taliban, says should be given time to run Afghanistan
Pakistan minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has said the Taliban should be given time to form a government and run their country's affairs, urging the international community to understand the ground realities in Afghanistan. Rashid, who is the interior minister of Pakistan, said Afghans must not be left alone in the current situation and that food, medicines and other essential items should be provided to them on humanitarian grounds, according to the Dawn newspaper.
During a meeting with the UN high commissioner for refugees Filippo Grandi in Islamabad on Thursday, Rashid said Pakistan wanted lasting peace in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan as he stressed the need for the provision of financial and human resources for governance in the country. “The world needs to understand the ground realities about Afghanistan,” Rashid was quoted as saying by The News International.
Rashid also said that Pakistan is working round the clock in facilitating the evacuation of Afghan citizens and foreigners present in Afghanistan. “In the context of the current situation, there are no Afghan refugees and no refugee camps in Pakistan,” said Rashid.
The Taliban last week formed the interim government of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, appointing hardliners and no women. Pakistan, which has had deep ties with the Taliban, has been accused of supporting the group overtly and covertly—charges denied by Islamabad. Several countries have said they would see whether the Taliban fulfil its promises of an inclusive Afghan government and ensuring human rights before giving their regime diplomatic recognition.
Earlier this week, Grandi appealed for "urgent and sustained" support for Afghans inside the country and for refugees who have fled abroad. "The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan remains desperate. And if public services and the economy collapse, we will see even greater suffering, instability, and displacement both within and outside the country,” Grandi warned after concluding his three-day visit to Afghanistan on Wednesday.
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Foreign donors have suspended aid to Afghanistan and said that disbursements are contingent on the behaviour of the new Taliban-led government.
Afghanistan was already facing chronic poverty and drought but the situation has deteriorated since the Taliban seized power last month. Aid to the war-torn country has been disrupted, tens of thousands of people, including government and aid workers have fled and much economic activity has collapsed. Grandi has said that even before the Taliban took over last month, more than 18 million Afghans, or about half the population, required humanitarian aid. More than 3.5 million Afghans were already displaced in a country that is battling drought and the Covid-19 pandemic.
(With agency inputs)