Pakistan warned Friday that Afghanistan could fall into a humanitarian crisis as millions of Afghans are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.
Speaking at a UN Security Council meeting on Afghanistan, Pakistan's Ambassador to the UN Munir Akram said the world must prevent the situation from deteriorating any further, as this could trigger a huge outflow of refugees and complicate prospects for building peace and security, according to a statement issued from Pakistan’s mission to the UN.
"Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, conflict, and failure of the past governments as well as their corruption, the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan is dire, with nearly 18 million Afghans in need of urgent humanitarian assistance," Akram said.
The international community should learn from the past and must remain engaged in Afghanistan as instability or economic collapse would perpetuate conflict and prolong the suffering of the people in Afghanistan, he said.
"This will benefit no one except those who see continued conflict in Afghanistan as an opportunity to utilize turmoil to sponsor terrorism from its territory," he added.
He told the UN Security Council that over one million Afghans had been killed, injured, maimed, and traumatized during the last four decades of war, which devastated the country's already-fragile economy.
"Today Afghanistan stands at a critical juncture in its history. The Afghan people can, with the support of the international community, restore peace and revive the prospects of development," he said.
Stressing the need for restoration of peace in Afghanistan, Akram said neighboring Pakistan has been severely impacted by the consequences of the conflict in Afghanistan.
"In the so-called ‘war on terror,’ 80,000 Pakistanis were killed in terror attacks and thousands were injured. Our economy suffered an estimated damage of over $150 billion," he explained.
He said he hoped the new interim Taliban government would succeed in establishing law and order and a sense of security in the country, restore basic services to the people, and enable the timely distribution of international humanitarian assistance in coordination with the UN and its agencies.
"Afghanistan’s access to its financial resources is essential to prevent further exacerbation of the fragile economic situation and the collapse of its economy. This is essential to prevent runaway inflation, rising prices, growing poverty, and a mass refugee exodus from Afghanistan,” he argued.
On Tuesday Jens Laerke, spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), warned that “basic services in Afghanistan are collapsing and food and other lifesaving aid is about to run out.”