Regional powers at the top ask US to fund Afghan aid
MOSCOW, Sept. 17 (Reuters) – Russia, China, Pakistan and other states in the region on Friday called on the United States to engage with the Taliban and fund aid to Afghanistan, while by urging the former insurgents to cede power to a more inclusive government. .
The fate of Afghanistan dominated a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, established 20 years ago as a discussion workshop for Russia, China and the former Soviet states in Central Asia, but which recently expanded into a bloc with broader regional ambitions. India and Pakistan joined in 2017, and Iran joined on Friday.
Group leaders said it was the responsibility of the West in general and the United States in particular to help avert a humanitarian catastrophe in Afghanistan, where Western aid backed the Taliban-won government. last month.
“The bulk of the expenses related to the post-conflict reconstruction of Afghanistan should be borne by the United States and the NATO countries which are directly responsible for the serious consequences of their prolonged presence in the country,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin.
He called on Washington to unfreeze the assets of the Afghan central bank, stranded since the Taliban takeover, saying that without access to funds, the new Afghan rulers would be tempted to turn to drug and arms trafficking.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, without naming the United States by name, said that “certain countries” should assume their responsibilities for the future development of Afghanistan, having been “the instigators” of the situation.
Imran Khan, Pakistan’s prime minister who has the closest ties to the Taliban of all neighbors, said the priority was “to prevent a humanitarian crisis and economic collapse.” We must remember that the previous government depended heavily on foreign aid and its withdrawal. could lead to an economic collapse. “
However, leaders were also cautious of the new Afghan interim cabinet, made up almost exclusively of ethnic Pashtuns.
The main base of support for the Taliban, the Pashtuns represent less than half of the Afghan population. Most of the other major ethnic groups have strong linguistic and ethnic ties with members of the Shanghai Organization such as Iran, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Khan of Pakistan said the Taliban should create an “inclusive political structure” representing all ethnic groups and prevent Afghan soil from being used for international activism.
Putin noted that the new government was only provisional. “You can’t call him representative or inclusive, because we don’t see representatives of other ethnic groups there. But we think we have to work with him.”
Report by Nazarali Pirnazarov; Additional reporting by Charlotte Greenfield in Islamabad; Writing by Olzhas Asezov Editing by Peter Graff
Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.