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Pakistan reiterates call for US to unfreeze Afghanistan's assets

Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses the legislative assembly in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir on 5 August 2020, to mark the one-year anniversary after New Delhi imposed direct rule on Indian-administered Kashmir. [AFP via Getty Images]
Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses the legislative assembly in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir on 5 August 2020, to mark the one-year anniversary after New Delhi imposed direct rule on Indian-administered Kashmir. [AFP via Getty Images]

Pakistan's Prime Minister on Friday reiterated the need for the US to release Afghanistan's frozen assets to "prevent an economic meltdown" in the country.

In a meeting with the Taliban's acting Foreign Minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi, and a visiting Afghan delegation, Imran Khan "underscored the urgent need to release Afghanistan's frozen assets and facilitation of banking transactions to prevent an economic meltdown," according to a statement by the premier's office.

Khan was referring to the over $9.5 billion of the Afghan central bank's reserves that US President Joe Biden's administration has blocked since the Taliban swept to power on 15 August.

The Pakistani premier assured the visiting delegation that Islamabad will continue to provide "all possible support, including humanitarian assistance-in-kind" to Afghanistan.

READ: Taliban have all-inclusive government in Afghanistan, claims acting Foreign Minister

"Pakistan has been consistently calling for provision of immediate humanitarian relief for Afghanistan … Pakistan would provide essential food items including wheat and rice, emergency medical supplies and shelter items for Afghanistan," read the statement.

Khan said Islamabad would also "favorably consider the request by Afghan brothers for transportation of wheat offered by India through Pakistan on exceptional basis for humanitarian purposes."

He stressed that a "peaceful, stable, sovereign, prosperous and connected Afghanistan" was important for Pakistan and the entire region.

"Continued security and resolute counterterrorism actions, respect for rights of all Afghans and inclusivity in governance and politics would further contribute to Afghanistan's stability," he said.

Khan urged the interim Afghan government to "continue to constructively engage with the international community and … keep on taking positive measures to address the prevailing challenges."

 Need for engagement

Earlier in the day, Khan met the special envoys of China, Russia, US and Pakistan, who were in Islamabad for a meeting of the Troika Plus group on Afghanistan.

He called for the international community to engage with the new government in Afghanistan, adopt a pragmatic approach, and provide urgent assistance and economic support to Afghanistan.

"The international community must recognise the gravity of the situation and take urgent measures, including release of frozen assets, to help alleviate the suffering of the Afghan people," the Pakistani premier said.

READ: India hosts security dialogue on Afghanistan

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