Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi addressed the High-level Ministerial Meeting on Supporting the Humanitarian Response in Afghanistan, held in a virtual format today. The meeting was convened by the UN Secretary General, joined by Member State co-hosts including Qatar, United Kingdom and Germany.

In his video address, the Foreign Minister called upon the international community to support the Afghan people in their journey towards sustainable peace and development. He underscored the importance of durable solutions including the provision of livelihood opportunities and ensuring of access to basic necessities such as food, health and education for the Afghan population. The Foreign Minister stressed that new humanitarian situations emerging in other parts of the world should not move the focus away from the dire needs of millions of Afghans.

The Foreign Minister recalled that Pakistan had been at the forefront of humanitarian efforts for Afghanistan including by facilitating evacuations and relocations, and establishment of a humanitarian corridor for the delivery of relief goods through air and land routes. He noted that Pakistan had airlifted humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan and dispatched wheat flour and medical supplies over land as part of US$ 30 million humanitarian assistance package for Afghanistan. Over the years, Pakistan had earmarked over $1 billion for a range of development projects in Afghanistan. Pakistan also continued to host around 4 million Afghan refugees.

The Foreign Minister also apprised the meeting of Pakistan’s efforts through the platform of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for the operationalization of ‘Afghanistan Humanitarian Trust Fund’; decision to establish ‘Afghanistan Food Security Programme’; and appointment of a Special Envoy of the OIC Secretary General for Afghanistan.

The Foreign Minister reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to continue the provision of humanitarian relief to the Afghan people, under the UN and OIC umbrella, as well as through bilateral channels, in addition to facilitating the UN in its humanitarian relief efforts by providing logistical and other support through Pakistan.

Emphasizing that humanitarian assistance should be unconditional and apolitical, in line with international principles, the Foreign Minister called for concerted international efforts to help Afghanistan build a sustainable economy and reintegrate in the global supply chains and banking system.

The main objective of the meeting was to secure scaled-up resources for addressing the unprecedented level of humanitarian needs in Afghanistan. At the start of 2022, the United Nations had launched an appeal of over US$4.4 billion in that regard.

31 March 2022

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