Swedish minister says Afghanistan could be 'on the brink of collapse' faster than anticipated

Swedish minister says Afghanistan could be 'on the brink of collapse' faster than anticipated
© photo by Karim-Aly Kassam

The Swedish minister for international development cooperation told Reuters in an interview on Saturday that he was worried that Afghanistan was quickly nearing economic collapse.

"My concern is that the country is on the brink of collapse and that collapse is coming faster than we thought," Swedish minister Per Olsson Fridh told the news outlet.

The remarks come just days after 10 Middle Eastern and Asian nations joined the Taliban in seeking a U.N. donor conference to provide humanitarian aid to Afghanistan. During talks held in Moscow, the 10 nations said that, in an effort to avoid a humanitarian and economic crisis, a donor conference should be convened by the U.N. to provide humanitarian assistance.

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However, the nations made clear that the U.S. and its allies involved in the Afghanistan war should bear the brunt of the humanitarian aid assistance.

Following a meeting between senior Taliban representatives and a U.S. delegation earlier this month, a State Department readout said that “The two sides also discussed the United States’ provision of robust humanitarian assistance, directly to the Afghan people."

The Taliban had said following the talks that the U.S. would be providing humanitarian aid to the country but would not be formally recognizing the Taliban. More humanitarian aid has also been given to Afghanistan through the European Union, but the World Bank and some nations have paused developmental assistance, according to Reuters. 

The international community is wary about recognizing the Taliban despite claims from the insurgent group that it will not rule as it did under the old guard. Fridh told Reuters the Taliban would not be receiving developmental aid from Sweden and he said that his country is trying to work with civil society organizations.