Wednesday September 22, 2021

Afghanistan faces serious challenges: Sluggish response to cause dire consequences, says Qureshi

Pakistan warns that the past mistakes should not be repeated
September 14, 2021
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. File photo
 Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. File photo

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Monday made it clear to world capitals that the challenges in Afghanistan were daunting and the situation was becoming dire for around 18 million people there needing immediate humanitarian assistance.

“A sluggish response from the international community can cause grave humanitarian consequences“, warned Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi while speaking at the virtual High-Level Ministerial meeting on the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan.

Appreciating the efforts of the United Nations for providing the much-needed humanitarian assistance to the Afghans, Qureshi pointed out, ”Afghanistan represents an important opportunity, as it begins its journey towards sustainable peace and development. The recurring cycles of conflict and instability during the last four decades can finally be stopped,” said the Foreign Office.

Solidarity must be shown with the Afghan people at this pivotal juncture, both in terms of financial and political support. It is time to renew developmental partnerships, support nation-building, and meet the humanitarian needs of the Afghan population.

“Durable solutions require scaling up of developmental interventions, provision of livelihood opportunities, and ensuring access to basic necessities such as food, health and education for the Afghan people”, he added.

“We must not forget millions of Afghans in large refugee-hosting countries, for whom the international support has dwindled over the years. In line with the principles of international responsibility and burden sharing, host communities must be supported, especially during these challenging times of COVID-19”, he added.

Pakistan has been supporting humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan in several ways, including by facilitating evacuation and relocation of international staff, and establishment of a humanitarian corridor for delivery of relief goods through air and land routes.

Pakistan is already airlifting humanitarian assistance — comprising food and medicines — to Afghanistan, which will be followed by supplies through land routes as well. Pakistan continues to host more than 3 million Afghan refugees for over four decades. Over the years, the government has also earmarked over $1 billion for a range of development projects in Afghanistan.

”We reaffirm our commitment today to support provision of humanitarian relief to the Afghan people under the UN umbrella, as well as continuity of our in-kind assistance to Afghanistan. We will also continue to facilitate the UN in its humanitarian relief efforts by providing logistical and other support through Pakistan, said the foreign minister.

Pakistan warned that the past mistakes should not be repeated. “The Afghan people must not be abandoned. It is essential to take a long-term view and adopt a pragmatic approach. Sustained engagement with Afghanistan, especially for meeting its humanitarian needs, is indispensable. Pakistan appreciates the leadership shown by the UN Secretary-General on this account, and the UN agencies playing a leading role in ensuring humanitarian supplies”, said Qureshi.