LAHORE (APP): South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation-Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SAARC-CCI) Sunday called upon the West in general and United States in particular to give peace a chance to prevail in war torn Afghanistan by fully supporting economically to rebuild one the world’s poorest state.
Talking to a delegation of senior lawyers led by Rana Muhammad Aqil Nasir President SAARC chamber Iftikhar Ali Malik said economic sanctions on new regime of Taliban will not serve the purpose rather than further deteriorate the situation.
He said it’s West and US responsibility to help avert humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan after ending their 20 years long presence last month.
He called upon the US to unfreeze $9.5b assets of the Afghan central bank which has been blocked since Taliban take over. He said World Bank and IMF should also unblock Afghanistan aids of $800 m and $400 m respectively committed to country in 2021 for development projects otherwise it will cripple all efforts for stability, durable peace and economic development.
Iftikhar Ali Malik said the main part of the expenses should also be borne by the US and NATO countries which were directly responsible for the grave consequences of their prolonged presence in Afghanistan. He said Afghanistan should be guided to be more open and inclusive and pursue moderate domestic and foreign policies rather than pushing towards wall.
He said it is equally essential for the international players and major donors to stay engaged to support the Afghan people and help restore it’s totally collapsed economy.
Malik said “Afghanistan is tremendously dependent on foreign aid which is about 10 times or even more than the Taliban has been able to obtain from its own resources.”
He said that aid flow in 2020 represented 42.9 percent of Afghanistan’s $19.8 billion GDP. He said Afghanistan’s economy is shaped by fragility and aid dependence.
Iftikhar Ali Malik said the Afghan economy has taken a hit during the covid-19 pandemic and the new regime of Taliban has acknowledged that it cannot improve the situation without foreign help.He said Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid has also spoken to many countries to work with us on our economy as Afghanistan needs their help.He said peaceful balanced political settlement of Afghanistan is pre-requisite for durable stability in the region.
Other members of delegation included Mian Jaffer Hussain, Mian Mahmood Ahmad Qazi, Junaid Jabbar Khan, Jawwad Tariq Nasim, Asif Nazir Awan, Jalil Ur Rehman, Shafique Butt, Mian Dawood, Anas and Ayesha Shafique.