Economic meltdown in Afghanistan key priorities, FM Qureshi tells virtual moot

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday stressed that the prevention of a humanitarian crisis and economic meltdown in Afghanistan were key priorities in the wake of recent developments in the country that saw the Taliban take over Kabul and the formation of an interim government.

Qureshi was addressing a virtual meeting of foreign ministers of Afghanistan's neighbours — China, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan — to discuss developments in the war-ravaged country. The meeting came a day after the Taliban’s announcement of an interim government.

"In the wake of recent developments in the country, the key priorities are to prevent a humanitarian crisis that can exacerbate the sufferings of Afghans. Equally important is to take steps to prevent [an] economic meltdown in the country.

"If a humanitarian crisis is prevented and economic stability is assured, then peace can be consolidated and a mass exodus precluded," Qureshi said.

Qureshi said urgent provision of humanitarian assistance with the UN and its various agencies playing a leading role would reinforce the confidence-building process. The foreign minister pointed out that Afghanistan's access to its financial resources would be "pivotal" in preventing an economic collapse and reviving economic activity.

FM Qureshi said recent events had "catapulted" the region to a global spotlight, adding that "how the situation evolves will have profound implications for Afghanistan, our region and the world at large".