Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Saturday that Afghanistan could face economic collapse if its frozen assets are not released to meet growing needs.
He said Pakistan will host a meeting of foreign ministers of Muslim countries on December 19 to discuss the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan.
Mr Qureshi told the media in Lahore that the 17th extraordinary session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) would be held after 41 years, reflecting the urgency of the Afghan situation.
“If the situation in Afghanistan is not taken care of, there could be a human tragedy,” he said, adding that half of Afghanistan’s population could suffer from food shortages.
Advocating the release of Afghanistan’s assets, he said the country could face economic collapse if the frozen assets were not released to meet the growing needs.
The US seized more than USD 9 billion in assets of the Afghan Central Bank after Taliban insurgents seized power in the war-torn country in mid-August.
The Taliban-led government in Afghanistan has asked the US to free the country’s assets and lift sanctions on its banks, citing hardships being faced by the people ahead of the cold winter.
Highlighting the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, Qureshi said it could trigger a new refugee exodus, and asked the world to understand the current situation in the war-ravaged country. Qureshi said that P5 countries and European agency have also been invited to attend the meeting.
Earlier, Saudi Arabia had called an extraordinary meeting of the OIC, the largest body of Muslim countries. Pakistan had offered to host the meeting in Islamabad.
Afghanistan has been under Taliban rule since August 15 when the Afghan hardline terrorist group overthrew the elected government of President Ashraf Ghani and forced him to flee the country and seek refuge in the United Arab Emirates.