Sweden and Pakistan say Afghanistan hurtling towards collapse
24 Oct 2021
Picture used for illustrative purposes only.
Gulf Today Report
Afghanistan will shortly collapse into chaos unless the international community acts rapidly, Swedish and Pakistani ministers warned on Saturday.
Afghanistan plunged into crisis after the Taliban movement drove out the Western-backed government in August, triggering the abrupt end of billions of dollars in assistance to its aid-dependent economy.
"The country is on the brink of collapse and that collapse is coming faster than we thought," Swedish development minister Per Olsson Fridh told Reuters in Dubai.
He said economic freefall could provide an environment for terrorist groups to thrive, but that Sweden would not channel money through the Taliban, instead boosting its humanitarian contributions through Afghan civil society groups.
Many countries and multilateral institutions have halted development assistance but increased humanitarian aid since August, reluctant to legitimise the new Taliban rulers.
Pakistani Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry later told the media that direct engagement with the Taliban was the only way to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe, and called for billions of dollars of Afghan assets frozen overseas to be released.
"Are we going to push Afghanistan into chaos or are we going to try and stabilise the country?" he said in Dubai.
Engagement would also encourage the protection of human rights and the establishment of an inclusive, constitutional government, he said.
Meanwhile, a roadside bombing targeting a Taliban vehicle in eastern Afghanistan killed at least two civilians Saturday, including a child, Taliban and health officials said. Four others were wounded.
Two bombs detonated as a Taliban vehicle was passing by, killing one child, district police chief Ismatullah Mubariz said, adding that no Taliban fighters were harmed.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack but the Daesh group is active in eastern Nangarhar province, where it has launched frequent attacks targeting the Taliban.