US thanks Pakistan for hosting 'vital' OIC summit on Afghanistan

Published December 22, 2021
US State Secretary Antony Blinken speaks to the media after meetings on the sidelines of the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York on Sept 23, 2021. — AFP
US State Secretary Antony Blinken speaks to the media after meetings on the sidelines of the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York on Sept 23, 2021. — AFP

US State Secretary Antony Blinken on Wednesday thanked Pakistan for hosting the extraordinary session of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation's (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers to discuss the situation in neighbouring Afghanistan.

"The OIC extraordinary session on Afghanistan is a prime example of our collective determination and action to help those most in need. We thank Pakistan for hosting this vital meeting and inviting the global community to continue cooperating to support the Afghan people," Blinken said.

The OIC session was held in Islamabad on Sunday. Envoys from 57 Islamic nations as well as observer delegations participated in the session during which it was decided to set up a Humanitarian Trust Fund and Food Security Programme to deal with the rapidly aggravating crisis.

The OIC, which is also the world’s second-largest multilateral forum, in a communiqué adopted at the end of the extraordinary session said it “will play a leading role in the delivery of humanitarian and development aid to the people of Afghanistan”.

Addressing the summit, Prime Minister Imran Khan had issued a clear warning to the global community, stating that Afghanistan could potentially become the biggest "man-made crisis in the world" if action was not take immediately.

He said instability in Afghanistan would not be in anyone’s interest as it could lead to refugee exodus from the war-ravaged country and a heightened terrorism threat particularly from the militant Islamic State group.

A day later, the premier voiced veiled criticism at the US for creating a humanitarian crisis n Afghanistan and allowing it to worsen.

“A man-made crisis is being created despite knowing that it can be averted if (Afghanistan’s) accounts (in the US) are unfrozen and liquidity is put into their banking system,” PM Imran said while speaking at a ceremony held at Foreign Office to celebrate the success of the OIC meeting.

More than half the population in Afghanistan, nearly 22 million people, is facing an acute food shortage. Unicef estimates that some 3.2 million Afghan children under the age of five will suffer from malnutrition this winter.

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