IN a major development, the United States has issued new rules allowing commercial and financial transactions with Afghanistan that could give much-needed relief to the faltering economy. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced these measures and said these new rules would ease the flow of humanitarian aid and commercial activities. “To be clear, sanctions on the Taliban remain in place,” he, however, added. This means financial institutions, NGOs and private-sector companies can now have transactions with Afghanistan as long as they comply with the sanctions. These new rules will inject greater liquidity into Afghanistan’s economy and facilitate the flow of funds into the country through official channels. The announcement is a welcome one because it comes at a time of increasing economic hardship in Afghanistan. The United Nations and other agencies had been warning of a looming humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan in the absence of a formal way of getting financial aid to the people. It is expected that these new rules will have a favourable impact on the Afghan economy in the coming weeks and months.

Pakistan has been at the forefront of efforts to enable greater international help for Afghanistan. A special meeting of the OIC foreign ministers was held in Islamabad recently on Afghanistan and it helped highlight the need for urgent steps needed to bring relief to the people of that country. Prime Minister Imran Khan has also been raising these concerns during all his international visits by reminding the world that Afghanistan needs greater assistance and not more isolation. It is therefore encouraging to see the US, that has been rightly criticised for withholding a large portion of Afghan central bank assets, taking some steps towards easing the suffering of the people of Afghanistan.

However, as long as sanctions remain in place, Afghanistan’s economy will continue to gasp for breath. The global community has to realise that the Taliban government is now a reality that cannot be wished away. It is better to engage with it and slowly bring it back to the mainstream instead of trying to weaken it through sanctions. The situation in Afghanistan has not turned out to be what the US and its allies would have preferred, but this does not mean that the people of Afghanistan should face the brunt of international ire. They have already suffered enough through decades of conflict and deserve to return to a semblance of normalcy. The issue of recognising the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan should therefore be brought back to the table without any delay. The Taliban can facilitate this by letting go of their obduracy and fulfilling the genuine requirements of the international community. They must show through their actions that they are protecting and promoting the rights of women and minorities and taking steps that prove that they are ready to join the global mainstream.

Published in Dawn, March 1st, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

Saudi investment
Updated 10 Apr, 2024

Saudi investment

The state has to address barriers that stand in the way of attracting foreign investment, and create a pro-business environment.
Charity for change
Updated 11 Apr, 2024

Charity for change

PAKISTANIS are large-hearted people who empty their pockets at the slightest hint of another’s need. The Stanford...
World Bank’s advice
Updated 09 Apr, 2024

World Bank’s advice

The next IMF programme will be far tougher than any other Pakistan has embarked on in the past.
Middle East heat
09 Apr, 2024

Middle East heat

America must communicate to Israel that further provocations, particularly targeting sovereign states, will be unacceptable.
Killing fields
09 Apr, 2024

Killing fields

PERHAPS rankled by the daily flood of grisly news — murders, armed robberies, muggings and kidnappings — and...