Pakistan to convene meeting with Muslim countries on support for Afghanistan

Pakistan’s foreign minister said Friday that several Muslim countries are convening to discuss ways they can help Afghanistan amid Taliban rule and a looming economic and humanitarian crisis, according to The Associated Press.

Members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) will convene Sunday in Islamabad, Pakistan, for discussions. 

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi noted that the meeting did imply a recognition of the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan but said that the message to those attending was “not to abandon Afghanistan,” which is grappling poverty and food insecurity, among other concerns.

“Please do not abandon Afghanistan. Please engage. We are speaking for the people of Afghanistan. We’re not speaking of a particular group. We are talking about the people of Afghanistan,” Qureshi said of the meeting’s message, the AP reported.

Taliban-appointed Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi will be also be attending the meeting. 

Special representatives on Afghanistan from the United States, the European Union, China and Russia are also scheduled to attend, according to Qureshi, the wire service noted.

“Pleased to be in Islamabad for an Extraordinary Session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers, focused on the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan. A timely and important initiative,” Thomas West, the U.S. special representative for Afghanistan, tweeted Saturday morning.

The political landscape of Afghanistan changed rapidly amid the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the nation and the rise of the Taliban. 

In the matter of over a week in Afghanistan, the Taliban began capturing major cities and provincial capitals, capped off by the seizure of Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, in mid-August. Former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, and the Taliban began asserting their power.

Following the collapse of the Afghan government, human rights organizations and world leaders expressed concern for marginalized groups in the country such as women and LGBT people. 

The Taliban’s administration in Kabul has been sanctioned by the international community. Billions of dollars’ worth of Afghanistan’s assets — most of which are in the U.S. — have been frozen, and international aid to the area has been halted. 

Late last month, Pakistan and several other member nations of the Economic Cooperation Organization pledged that they would assist Afghanistan during a summit. Pakistani President Arif Alvi said during the meeting that measures were necessary to avoid a “catastrophe that could foment chaos and conflict” if Afghanistan’s economy continued to spiral.

Updated 10:55 a.m.

Tags Afghanistan Pakistan Taliban
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