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Islamic Governments Convene International Gathering To Avert Collapse of Afghanistan

Dec. 17, 2021 (EIRNS)—This weekend’s Extraordinary OIC Foreign Ministers meeting, called for by OIC chair Saudi Arabia and hosted by Pakistan, has one sole item on its agenda: taking action to halt the unfolding economic collapse of Afghanistan and the resulting humanitarian disaster. International aid and unfreezing Afghanistan’s reserves in order to restore the nation’s banking system are on the agenda. Representatives of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s 57 member states are being joined by high-level representatives from the United States, Russia, China, Europe and international institutions (UN, World Bank, etc.). Afghan interim Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi is leading his country’s delegation which will actively participate, at Pakistan’s invitation. As such, it will be the largest international gathering on Afghanistan since the Taliban assumed power in August.

Over 90 representatives had arrived in Islamabad today, with more delegates scheduled to arrive tomorrow, when “senior officials” meet. The Council of Foreign Ministers meets on Sunday, to take decisions. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova reported Dec. 15 that a meeting of the Afghanistan “Extended Troika”—U.S., Russia, China and Pakistan—would take place in Islamabad this weekend, and Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi confirmed today that U.S. Special Envoy Thomas West will be in Islamabad for these meetings, along with Russian  and Chinese representatives.

OIC Assistant Secretary-General Tariq Ali Bakheet said the intent is to “adopt a clear strategy” to deal with the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, and he expects an “important comprehensive resolution” to be adopted, with the OIC mobilizing “its financial institutions and member states to get more resources to support Afghanistan,” according to a report in Daily Times of Pakistan.

Qureshi, between greeting the arriving delegations today, emphasized to reporters that “the world must not abandon Afghanistan.” The world needs to “revisit” its policy; 75% of Afghanistan’s budgetary requirements had been met by external support prior to the Taliban government, and now Afghan assets had been frozen. “Why should Afghan women and children suffer?” he demanded to know. And if Afghanistan’s economy collapses, terrorism would be strengthened, and its neighbors and the European Union nations would have to prepare for more refugees.

Pakistan invited representatives from Germany, Canada, Australia and Japan, and the UN Security Council P5 nations, Qureshi reported, as well as the Taliban government delegation. He said he wanted the world’s representatives to hear their on-the-ground report of what is happening, and for the Taliban to listen to concerns of the international community on human rights. Pakistan does speak for the Taliban, Qureshi specified, but it seeks to bring “the stakeholders” to the OIC platform to directly get across their points of view. “We are not limiting ourselves to any particular faction or group in Afghanistan,” but the Afghan people have faced conflict for decades; we want to improve their lives, he said, the Pakistani daily The Dawn reported.

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