The ‘Troika Plus’ group seeks to facilitate access to banking services in Afghanistan | world news

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ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – The so-called Troika Plus group pledged on Thursday to try to ease heavy pressure on Afghanistan’s banking system as it warned of a possible economic collapse and humanitarian disaster that could fuel a new refugee crisis.

The group, made up of Pakistan, China, Russia and the United States, met in Islamabad amid growing concern over the situation in Afghanistan, where more than half the population will face to severe starvation over the coming winter.

“I urge the international community to fulfill their collective responsibility to avert a grave humanitarian crisis,” Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan wrote on Twitter, adding that Pakistan would provide aid including food, medical supplies, emergency and winter shelters.

The Taliban victory in August saw the billions of dollars in foreign aid that had kept the economy afloat abruptly cut short, with more than $9 billion in central bank reserves frozen outside the country.

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“Nobody wants to see a relapse into civil war, nobody wants an economic collapse that will spur instability,” Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said.

“Everyone wants the terrorist elements operating inside Afghanistan to be fought effectively and we all want to prevent a new refugee crisis,” he told the envoys, who also met with the foreign minister. Acting Foreign Affairs of the Taliban, Amir Khan Muttaqi.

Restrictions on the banking system put in place by international governments since the Taliban took power have deepened Afghans’ pain, prompting growing calls for the lifting of the reserve freeze.

The troika said it acknowledged concerns about “serious liquidity problems and pledged to continue to focus on measures to facilitate access to legitimate banking services”.

Pakistan has called on governments, including the United States, to allow development aid to flow into Afghanistan to avoid collapse.

Pakistan has also discussed the idea of ​​Afghanistan joining CPEC, its multi-billion dollar infrastructure project with China, which falls under the banner of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Thursday’s conference, which reiterated calls on the Taliban for women’s rights to be upheld and Afghanistan not to become a base for militant groups to carry out attacks outside the country, is the latest in a series of diplomatic meetings in the region.

Muttaqi arrived in Islamabad on Wednesday to discuss trade and other ties, while neighboring India hosted a conference for countries in the region on Wednesday, although arch-rival Pakistan did not attend. meeting.

(Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield and James Mackenzie; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa, Andrea Ricci and Jonathan Oatis)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.

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