United States and European Union envoys have been warned by Afghanistan’s new Taliban government against attempts to pressure them through sanctions.
The new government noted that the sanctions will undermine security and could trigger a wave of economic refugees.
According to a statement published on Tuesday, the Taliban’s acting foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi told Western diplomats at talks in Doha that “weakening the Afghan government is not in the interest of anyone because its negative effects will directly affect the world in (the) security sector and economic migration from the country,”
“We urge world countries to end existing sanctions and let banks operate normally so that charity groups, organisations and the government can pay salaries to their staff with their own reserves and international financial assistance,” the statement said, as reported by Agence France-Presse (AFP).
According to Daily Sabah, the European countries, in particular, are concerned that if the Afghan economy collapses, large numbers of migrants will set off for the continent, piling pressure on neighboring states such as Pakistan and Iran and eventually on EU borders. Washington and the EU have said they are ready to back humanitarian initiatives in Afghanistan, but are wary of providing direct support to the Taliban without guarantees it will respect human rights, in particular women’s rights.
Qatar’s Foreign Minister Mohammad bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, on Wednesday told a conference that Taliban government was not currently a priority, but the international engagement was important.
“There is no clear path for unfreezing Afghan government funds, highlighting the economic challenges Afghanistan faces under its new Taliban rulers.
“According to Reuters, Al Thani reiterated Qatar’s position that recognizing the Taliban government was not currently a priority, but the international engagement was important.”
The Taliban overthrew Afghanistan’s former US-backed government in August after a two-decade-long conflict, and have declared a new rule under the movement’s hardline interpretation of religious law.
But efforts to stabilise the country, still facing attacks from the rival extremist group the Daesh-Khorasan Province (Daesh-K) group, have been undermined by international sanctions; banks are running out of cash and civil servants are going unpaid.