Friday February 23, 2024

Pakistan offers to host 'extraordinary' OIC session on Afghanistan

Shah Mahmood urges OIC to step up to alleviate humanitarian needs of Afghan people, provide immediate support to them

November 29, 2021
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi speaks during a video message in Islamabad on November 29, 2021. — Twitter/ForeignOfficePk
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi speaks during a video message in Islamabad on November 29, 2021. — Twitter/ForeignOfficePk

ISLAMABAD: In order to discuss the latest situation in Afghanistan, Pakistan has offered to host the "extraordinary" session of the Council of Foreign Minister of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) convened by Saudi Arabia.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, in a video message, on Monday said: “Pakistan fully endorses this initiative. We also offered to host this meeting in Islamabad on the 17th of December 2021. We are confident that the OIC member states will endorse this offer."

He added that Afghanistan was the founding member of the OIC, and as part of the Islamic Ummah, "we are bound by fraternal bonds of amity and brotherhood with the people of Afghanistan."

Qureshi stated that "our Afghan brothers and sisters need us more than ever before."

FM Qureshi said Afghanistan faces a serious humanitarian situation as millions of Afghans, including women and children, are confronted with an uncertain future due to a shortage of food, medicine, and other essential living supplies.

The advent of winter has exacerbated the humanitarian crisis, he added.

The foreign minister urged the OIC to step up to alleviate the humanitarian needs of the Afghan people, provide immediate and sustained support to them, and continue to remain engaged with them for the wellbeing and prosperity of Afghanistan.

He said the first extraordinary session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers was held in Islamabad, in January 1980, on the situation in Afghanistan.

“Next month we will once again gather in Islamabad to reaffirm our abiding solidarity with and support to the Afghan people. I am confident that the meeting would consider concrete steps to help address the humanitarian and economic challenges facing Afghanistan,” he hoped.

The foreign minister said that he looked forward to welcoming the OIC foreign minister for the session in Islamabad.

Inflation and unemployment have surged in Afghanistan, and international aid that made up 75% of the previous US-backed government's budget has completely dried up.

The United States and the Taliban are due to hold talks this week in Qatar on humanitarian aid to Afghanistan and other issues.

Talks will also focus on how to offer safe passage out of Afghanistan for US citizens and Afghans who worked for Washington during the 20-year war.

The Taliban seized power on August 15 after ousting the previous US-backed government, as Washington hurriedly withdrew its troops from the country after a 20-year war.

The Taliban's previous regime was toppled in a US-led invasion after the 9/11 attacks in the United States that were carried out by Al-Qaeda.

— Additional input from AFP