Sweden has expressed concern that Afghanistan is heading for an economic collapse that could lead to the country entering a new political crisis.
Following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in August from a Western-backed government, billions of dollars in aid to the country have been halted. It has driven Afghanistan into a crisis.
– My concern is that the country is on the verge of collapse and that the collapse is coming faster than we thought, says Sweden’s Minister for International Development Cooperation Per Olsson Fridh. Reuters in Dubai, warned that an economically free fall could provide an environment for terrorist groups to thrive.
The European Union, which includes Sweden, has increased humanitarian aid to Afghanistan since the Taliban returned to power. But like many other countries and the World Bank, the bloc of 27 countries has stopped its development aid.
Sweden was looking at scaling up efforts through Afghan civil society groups to secure basic services, Fridh said. Other countries needed to be convinced that this was possible without legitimizing the new Taliban rulers, he added. One thing is for sure – Sweden would not channel development money through the Taliban, he said.
At the same time, on Friday, the Red Cross called on the international community to engage with the Taliban and warned that aid groups could only provide temporary solutions on their own.
Following the return of the Taliban, most countries have closed their embassies in Kabul. Some have moved their embassies to Qatar, the Gulf state, which is an important interlocutor between the West and the Taliban.
European countries were not ready to reopen their Kabul embassies, Fridh said, adding that more diplomatic missions would be opened in Qatar before a return to Afghanistan.
(With input from agencies)
(Edited by: Thomas Abraham)