‘Restarting Afghan economy need of the hour’

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A restart of the economy is urgently needed and the first step should be unlocking reserves, the WFP official said…reports Asian Lite News

The economic situation in post-war Afghanistan under the Taliban government continues to deteriorate, Mary-Ellen McGroarty, country director at World Food Programme (WFP) in Kabul, said on Wednesday.

“The situation that the (Afghan) economy is in is just actually exacerbating,” McGroarty told media.

Afghans are not receiving their wages, and there is a shortage of work, she said. At the same time, the country’s healthcare system is nearly destroyed, and food and fuel prices have skyrocketed, McGroarty added.

A restart of the economy is urgently needed and the first step should be unlocking reserves, the WFP official said.

After the Taliban entered Kabul in mid-August, leading to the collapse of the US-backed Afghan government, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund suspended financial aid to the new Afghan government. Their support accounted for nearly 75 per cent of Afghanistan’s public expenditure.

The United States has also frozen billions of dollars in assets belonging to the Afghan Central Bank.

Meanwhile, Pakistan is gearing up to ramp up the Kashmir dispute against India along with joining the United Nations call for immediate intervention to prevent an expected economic collapse of Afghanistan.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is scheduled to virtually address the 76th session of the UN General Assembly on September 24.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi is in New York and is expected to hold sideline meetings with his counterparts from various countries.

Pakistan recently showcased its detailed case study and presented it in the form of a fresh dossier on what it called worsening situation in Jammu and Kashmir aka ‘Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir’ (IIOJK), showing video interviews, intercepted call recordings and images, as alleged proofs of India’s ‘continued violation of human rights’ since August 5, 2019.

It is expected that the same will also be brought forward and mentioned in Imran Khan’s address at the UNGA on Friday.

Pakistan’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative at the United Nations, Munir Akram, revealed that the country’s priorities at the UNGA would be:

* To promote own economic and social development in challenging times

* To highlight concerns about IIOJK

* Strategy for Afghanistan on how to ensure stability, peace, reconciliation and revival of economy

* Highlight on security challenges Pakistan is facing, especially the re-emergence of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)

“We want the world to realise that the threat to peace and security arising from this situation,” said Akram.

“Our strategy is to see how to stabilise Afghanistan, restore peace, promote reconciliation, bring humanitarian help and revive the Afghan economy. We will also address the issue of terrorism, particularly TTP’s activities,” he added.

Moreover, Qureshi will be meeting with the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) contact group on Jammu and Kashmir. He will also participate in the UN Security Council reforms and other meetings on climate crisis and energy issues.

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