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Monday, January 17, 2022

Qatar FM says ‘unfair’ to punish Afghans in need of humanitarian assistance for Taliban takeover

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The United Nations warned earlier that at least 22 million Afghans, more than half of the country, are at risk of facing “acute” hunger during the harsh winter season.

Doha has called on international actors to not “punish” the Afghan people by politicising humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, urging for immediate action from the global community. 

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani confirmed in a recent TV appearance that his country remains committed to continue its efforts towards achieving stability and security in the region.

The latest comments came during a virtual appearance at the Rome MED Conference.

Sheikh Mohammed stressed the importance of dialogue to reach common grounds in politics, referring to dialogues hosted by Qatar between different Afghan parties amid the crisis in Afghanistan, and between the United States and the Taliban during the past few years, which led to the end of the war.

“Qatar also was honoured to help and support our allies and our partners in Europe, in the United States in helping them with the evacuation operation,” he said. 

“Qatar has rescued more than 70,000 from Afghanistan in the past few months and our evacuation flights are continuing in close cooperation with our allies in Europe and the United States,” the Qatari FM noted. 

He emphasised that the Gulf state is working on engaging with all relevant stakeholders, including the Taliban, neighboring and regional countries, and permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), to create a blueprint in reaching a common ground with Afghanistan.  

“I think the main challenge right now in Afghanistan is that there is an absence of clarity in the way to deal with Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover in August.”

The Qatari FM urged the international community to adopt a “clear strategy” in dealing with the current situation in war-torn Afghanistan to address humanitarian, political and economic concerns. 

Read also: US envoy ‘concerned’ over human rights violations in Afghanistan

He also reiterated the need to avoid linking humanitarian assistance and support to Kabul with any political progress, noting it is “unfair to punish the Afghan people because of the Taliban takeover.”

Sheikh Mohammed confirmed Qatar shares the concern of neighboring countries over the political and security situation in Afghanistan, especially amid a rising threat of ISIS-K and other growing terrorist organisations.

The Afghan government’s inability to pay the salaries of its citizens due to the freezing of accounts, “will lead to an economic crisis which might also be a fuel for those terrorist organisations to recruit more or to use Afghanistan as a punching pad for their attacks,” he said.

With this being said, the FM urged all partners in the international community to address the matter proactively and avoid waiting for consequences of the fall of Kabul on a bigger scale.

The United Nations had warned in October that at least 22 million Afghans, more than half of the country, are at risk of facing “acute” hunger during the harsh winter season.


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