Qureshi calls for unfreezing of Afghan assets ahead of UN talks.

NEW YORK -- Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi has called on world powers to unblock billions of dollars in Afghan assets frozen after the Taliban takeover but said he did not expect recognition soon of the new government.

Ahead of talks on Afghanistan at the United Nations General Assembly, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the most urgent priority was averting an even deeper economic collapse of the neighbouring nation that could trigger a humanitarian catastrophe.

"On one hand, you're raising fresh funds to avert a crisis and on the other hand money that is theirs -- belongs to them -- they cannot use," Qureshi told reporters. "I think freezing the assets is not helping the situation. I would strongly urge the powers that be that they should revisit that policy and think of an unfreeze," he said. "It will be a confidence-building measure as well and that could also incentivize positive behaviour."

While calling for engagement with the Taliban, Qureshi appeared to share the US stance that it was premature to establish formal ties. "I don't think anybody is in a rush to recognise at this stage and the Taliban should keep an eye on that," Qureshi said.

If the Taliban want recognition, "they have to be more sensitive and more receptive to international opinion," he said. The foreign minister added that the immediate need was to avert a humanitarian crisis in the war-torn country as the Taliban settle down to manage the dire situation. "Afghans have faced war in the last four decades," the foreign minister said.

"Now there is hope for peace in Afghanistan, and the International community should not leave Afghans alone at this critical juncture," as he underscored the need for engaging with the "new reality".

Qureshi voiced hope that the Taliban would be more inclusive after forming a caretaker government that includes figures blacklisted by the United Nations on terrorism allegations.

But he said he saw "positives" from the Taliban including a declaration of amnesty and a willingness to include ethnic groups other than the group's dominant Pashtuns. "These are trends that must be encouraged," he said.

'We would suggest to Afghans that they should have an inclusive government in which all ethnic groups are represented, and their initial statements indicate they aren't averse to the idea,' Qureshi stated.

Activists and witnesses say on-the-ground reality is different than the Taliban's promises, with women and girls already...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT