OIC must do its utmost to prevent the collapse of Afghan economy – Saifuddin

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ISLAMABAD, Dec 20 — The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) must do its utmost to prevent a total collapse of Afghanistan’s economy, in the backdrop of a looming humanitarian crisis and over US$9 billion of the country’s assets frozen by the United States.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah, in outlining a five-point proposal at the OIC 17th Extraordinary Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) today, said addressing the issue will benefit the people of Afghanistan.

“It is in this regard that the OIC should do its utmost in addressing and solving the more than US$9 billion reserves that are being frozen. It is not for the Taliban, it is for the Afghan people,” he told the Extraordinary Session, here today.

According to reports, the US froze over US$9 billion of Afghanistan’s reserves following the Taliban takeover in August after the withdrawal of US troops.

Saifuddin said the safety, security, human rights, and well-being of the Afghan people were of utmost priority and should be protected.

Meanwhile, Saifuddin also urged the OIC to bridge the gaps in international humanitarian response to Afghanistan and sees the merit in empowering the OIC Office in Kabul to strengthen the international humanitarian efforts on the ground.

“We also support the statement by Pakistan’s Foreign Minister in establishing a system or mechanism to become like a hub for humanitarian efforts for the people of Afghanistan,” he said.

Saifuddin said Malaysia also welcomed the outcome from the recent United Nations pledging conference in September this year, where the international community pledged more than US$1.2 billion for humanitarian assistance, in which Malaysia contributed US$100,000.

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He said the Malaysian government is committed to providing technical capacity-building assistance for Afghanistan through the Malaysian Technical Cooperation Programme (MTCP) and hoped to continue working with the other Member States on the matter.

The minister said since 2002, more than 1,800 Afghan officials and 1,000 teachers have received training in Malaysia and hundreds of Afghan students were studying in Malaysian universities.

“We have also encouraged Malaysian businesses to look for opportunities in Afghanistan and currently two Malaysian companies are already in the country to carry out development projects.”

The minister said Malaysia also wanted to play its role through its non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and welcomed cooperation with NGOs from the other Member States for humanitarian efforts.

He said within one month, Malaysian NGOs were already in Kabul and the Global Peace Mission have already opened an office in capital to facilitate humanitarian efforts to Afghanistan.

“For a long-term commitment, the Global Peace Mission will also establish a Global Waqf Fund. The Global Waqf Fund will use its expertise in the Islamic finance platform,” he said.

The Extraordinary Session hosted by Pakistan was called by Chair of the Islamic Summit of OIC, Saudi Arabia to discuss the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan. 

The Session was chaired by Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. 

NMT as reported by Bernama

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