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PM Imran Khan says Pakistan has always stood by Afghans; urges world to do same


Prime Minister Imran Khan has urged the international community to fulfill its collective responsibility and lend support to Afghanistan the same way Pakistan has always stood by the Afghan people in their hardships.

The premier’s comment came during acting Afghan foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi’s visit to Islamabad to attend the Troika Plus meeting, on the invitation extended by FM Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

“We have assured [Muttaqi] and his delegation we will provide all possible humanitarian aid to Afghanistan. We are sending essential food items, emergency medical supplies and winter shelters to provide immediate relief to Afghan people,” PM Imran Khan wrote on Twitter.

The premier went on to say that Pakistan will administer free COVID-19 vaccines to all Afghans travelling across the border into Pakistan.

“Again I urge the international community to fulfil its collective responsibility to avert a grave humanitarian crisis confronting the people of Afghanistan,” he wrote.

Muttaqi attends Troika Plus meeting

Muttaqi’s visit is in continuation of Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s visit to Kabul last month.

The visit will be centered on bilateral relations between the two countries, with a focus on enhancing inter-alliance trade, facilitation of transit trade, cross-border movement, land and aviation links, people-to-people contacts, and regional connectivity, a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

The statement further stated that Pakistan, given the prevalent situation, has been urging the international community to urgently provide humanitarian assistance and economic support on an immediate basis to alleviate the sufferings of the Afghan people.

“For its part, Pakistan is extending humanitarian and economic assistance to the brotherly people of Afghanistan” and remains committed to its support for a “peaceful, stable, sovereign, prosperous and connected Afghanistan,” it read.

Pakistan extended a special invitation to the acting Afghan foreign minister to attend the Troika Plus meeting, which was held in Islamabad today.

Qureshi stresses humanitarian aid on urgent basis

The meeting, held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was attended by Special Representatives of China, Pakistan, Russia and the United States, and the visiting delegation of the interim government of Afghanistan led by Muttaqi.

Qureshi said the Troika Plus meeting reflected the common desire to see a “peaceful, stable, unified, sovereign and prosperous Afghanistan”.

He mentioned that today, Afghanistan stands at the brink of an economic collapse and with international funding dried up, it has become difficult to pay even salaries, let alone pursue development projects.

He said the common man is reeling under the effects of a severe drought, adding that any further downward slide would severely limit the new administration’s capacity to run the government.

“It is, therefore, imperative for the international community to buttress provision of humanitarian assistance on an urgent basis,” he stressed, and added that health, education and municipal services required urgent attention.

The foreign minister said enabling Afghanistan to access its frozen funds would dovetail into the efforts to regenerate economic activities and move the Afghan economy towards stability and sustainability.

Similarly, he said, the UN and its agencies must be urged to find ways to reach out to the common Afghan and help stabilise the situation.

Pakistan has still not officially recognised the caretaker government in Afghanistan. It has, however, been facilitating border movement and sending humanitarian aid via trucks as well as by air regularly in the past few weeks.

This includes essential food items such as flour, rice and pulses.

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