Afghanistan will soon collapse into chaos unless the international community acts quickly, Swedish and Pakistani ministers warned on Saturday.
Afghanistan went into crisis after the hardline Taliban movement ousted the Western-backed government in August, triggering the abrupt end of billions of dollars in support of its aid-dependent economy.
– The country is on the verge of collapse and that collapse is coming faster than we thought, says Sweden’s Minister for Development Aid Per Olsson Fridh. Reuters In Dubai.
He said that an economic free fall could provide an environment for terrorist groups to flourish, but that Sweden would not channel money through the Taliban, but instead increase its humanitarian contributions through Afghan civil society groups.
Many countries and multilateral institutions have halted development aid but increased humanitarian aid since August, unwilling to legitimize the new Taliban rulers.
Minister of Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry later spoke Reuters that direct engagement with the Taliban was the only way to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe, and demanded the release of billions of dollars of Afghan assets frozen abroad.
Read more: How can Pakistan help international aid to Afghanistan?
“Should we drive Afghanistan into chaos or should we try to stabilize the country?” he said in Dubai.
Commitment would also encourage the protection of human rights and the establishment of an inclusive, constitutional government, he said.
Sweden’s Fridh said that the Taliban have so far failed to prove that they had abolished the oppressive policies that characterized their previous period in power in 1996-2001.
He also said that the conditions were not right for European countries to open embassies in Kabul again. Instead, more diplomatic activity would take place in Qatar, an important dialogue partner between the West and the Taliban.
Fridh met with Qatar officials in the capital Doha this week.
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But Fawad said it was time for the United States, China and other major powers to set up a framework for the formal recognition of Afghanistan’s new rulers and for the removal of UN sanctions against Taliban members, including some members of the new government.
This, along with direct financial assistance, was the only way to avoid instability, he said, adding: “The clock on this bomb is already ringing.”