Pakistan stresses unfreezing of Afghanistan’s financial assets ‘pivotal’ for rehabilitation roadmap

Moscow: Special Representative on Afghanistan Ambassador Muhammad Sadiq on Wednesday stressing the region’s role in promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan said that exploring realistic pathways towards unfreezing Afghanistan’s financial assets was pivotal.

“A roadmap for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Afghanistan is equally important,” Sadiq said while addressing at the 4th Meeting of the Moscow Format Member States.

The fourth meeting of the Moscow format of consultations on Afghanistan was held in Russia, with the participation of representatives from Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Iran, Pakistan, China, Turkmenistan, India, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

Muhammad Sadiq said the international community should consider to cooperate with the Afghan authorities on a ‘hierarchy of priorities’, especially where the Interim Afghan government had shown a commitment to act on countering terrorism and combatting drug trafficking.

He emphasized that the pressing humanitarian needs of the Afghan people must be de-hyphenated from any political considerations.

Beyond the confines of humanitarian assistance, he said that “we should focus on generating economic activity within Afghanistan to ensure a sustainable future”.

He said after four decades of war and bloodshed, Afghanistan had turned a new page in its history, however said that now that the war had ended, there was a unique opportunity to secure durable peace.

​Muhammad Sadiq said Pakistan was a firm adherent to the primacy of a regional approach to the situation in Afghanistan.

He mentioned that the international community had consistently urged the interim Afghan government to promote greater political inclusivity.

He, however, regretted that unfortunately, there was little to show on this count.

He mentioned that despite assurances by the interim Afghan government, the rights of women and girls also appear to have regressed, not progressed.

He pointed out that the footprint of terrorist organizations in Afghanistan, had yet to be fully eradicated.

​Sadiq said the advent of the Afghan winter had exacerbated an already dire situation – the World Food Programme had already warned that over half the Afghan population could face a ‘winter of famine’ this year.

He said the international commitments to provide humanitarian support to Afghanistan remained largely unfulfilled.

He said Afghanistan remains cut-off from the international banking system and faces serious liquidity challenges.

“Billions of Afghan assets are frozen, thus deprived of being gainfully used for the benefit of the people of Afghanistan,” he said.