KABUL: Chinese and Pakistani leaders on Tuesday called on the international community to provide urgent humanitarian and economic aid to Afghanistan, as the United Nations has warned the country will face acute food and medicine shortages in the coming winter.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan discussed the situation in Afghanistan in a telephone conversation, a statement said. Both the leaders said that Afghan people are in need of international help to alleviate their suffering, prevent instability, and rebuild following the withdrawal of the U.S.-led forces and the Taliban’s takeover in August.
The joint appeal came as Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has been holding two days of talks with Taliban representatives in Qatar.
China has urged the Taliban to keep border crossings open, while offering $31 million in humanitarian assistance along with 3 million doses of Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccines.
Beijing long opposed operations by U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. Since the Taliban seized power in August, it has kept its embassy open in Kabul but has not recognized the Taliban-led government.
Chinese officials have called for an inclusive government in Afghanistan but said virtually nothing about the Taliban’s restrictions on women’s access to work and education and other human rights issues.
This is as Pakistan wants the world community to unfreeze Afghanistan’s assets to enable Kabul use its own money to avert the deepening crisis.
Currently, the Taliban rulers do not have access to the Afghan central bank’s $9 billion in reserves, most of which is held by the New York Federal Reserve.