Changes in Afghanistan
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China has called for Afghan economic sanctions to be lifted and the Taliban to be able to secure billions of dollars in foreign exchange reserves, highlighting tensions between Beijing and the west of the country.
“Afghanistan’s foreign exchange reserves are a national treasure. It is a people and should be used for the people, “said China’s foreign minister, in line with remarks made by Wang Yi, the foreign minister, at the G20 summit in Afghanistan.”
Various financial institutions, including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), need to establish lending to the country, Wang said, in order to reduce the “suffering of the Afghan people” and “inconsistent” sanctions should be lifted.
Afghanistan is facing a financial crisis and tensions over the capture of the Taliban in the country. But Wang’s comments add to the growing tensions between the Western powers and China and Russia over how they can respond to the return of the Islamic State.
The UK on Wednesday called on Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to enter into an “international agreement”.
“If we want Afghanistan to be a safe haven for the rest of the world, then foreign powers – including Russia and China – must do the same with the Taliban,” said Liz Truss, the UK foreign minister.
His warning was given after Putin and Xi agreed last week to share intelligence and hold regular talks in Afghanistan on an agreement to prevent instability.
China’s foreign ministry also confirmed that special envoys from China, Russia and Pakistan had traveled to Kabul this week to meet with Taliban leadership.
Afghanistan’s economy has relied heavily on international aid, with aid agencies and other organizations for the past two decades, receiving $ 4bn- $ 6bn a year in development aid and billions of dollars in US military aid. The money has stalled abruptly since Taliban insurgents took over.
Foreign governments have recently pledged $ 1bn in emergency aid over the next three months. But Afghanistan is at hand $ 9bn in external storage which can be used in the event of an emergency, much of which is stored in external accounts. Access to central bank reserves located in US banks was suspended by Biden officials.
Sudden loss of income in many families has led to widespread hunger, with only 5% of Afghan households getting enough food every day, according to the World Food Program. Lost jobs, lack of income and rising prices have also helped urban families become poorer, WFP added.
“The economic crisis in Afghanistan is a sudden turn of events,” said Mary-Ellen McGroarty, WFP’s chief of staff in Afghanistan.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization who visited Kabul this week, has warned that health in Afghanistan is “on the verge of collapse” and the country is facing an “impending disaster”.
Government hospitals have already closed due to lack of funding and payment for doctors.
But Yun Sun, a Chinese foreign affairs expert at the Stimson Center, based in Washington, said other countries would also rule in Kabul, including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the Untied Arab Emirates and Pakistan.
“There are countries that have more power over the Taliban than China,” he said. “Another is known because it is [world’s] two powers and has money. ”
No international government has recognized the Taliban as a legitimate government in Afghanistan.
Extras quoted by Sherry Fei Ju in Beijing