ISLAMABAD, Mar 31 (APP):The neighbouring countries of Afghanistan on Thursday decided to provide further humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, and called on the international community to give more support to Afghanistan to help it restore cash liquidity and avoid humanitarian disaster.
It was stated in a document released at the conclusion of the Tunxi Initiative of the Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan on Supporting Economic Reconstruction in and Practical Cooperation with Afghanistan
The Third Foreign Ministers’ Meeting Among the Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan was held in Tunxi, Anhui Province in China. Foreign ministers or high-level representatives of China, Iran, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan were present.
All parties at the meeting noted that with the end of long years of war in Afghanistan, the country was now struggling with serious economic and livelihood difficulties as well as challenges across sectors. All parties pledged to support Afghanistan’s economic reconstruction in areas such as humanitarian assistance, connectivity, economy and trade, agriculture, energy and capacity building.
All parties decided to provide further humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, and call on the international community to give more support to Afghanistan, to help it restore cash liquidity and avoid humanitarian disaster.
China will speed up delivering its commitment of providing Afghanistan with emergency humanitarian assistance such as food, winter supplies, COVID-19 vaccines and medical equipment, and was ready to provide additional humanitarian assistance through bilateral and multilateral channels.
China will continue to provide Afghanistan with vaccines, medical equipment, medicine and other anti-epidemic supplies, carry out cooperation in Traditional Chinese Medicine, support the operation of Afghanistan’s medical and health systems, and help Afghanistan fight COVID-19.
Iran had sent more than 30 Humanitarian aid shipments including food, medicine and health items to help the people in different cities of Afghanistan, and was consulting and coordinating with the Afghan side to send new supportive shipments.
Iran will continue to provide emergency fuel and food and other necessary daily life items to the people of Afghanistan.
Pakistan announced in-kind humanitarian assistance package of Rs. 5 billion (around $ 30 million). Pakistan had provided more than 13,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid to Afghanistan under Pak-Afghan Cooperation Forum and provided three consignments of wheat to Afghanistan. Pakistan had also been channelizing humanitarian assistance from various philanthropic organizations of Pakistan.
Pakistan was also acting as a channel to facilitate the flow of international humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, including providing transit facility for Indian wheat to Afghanistan on an exceptional basis for humanitarian purposes and facilitating the UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) air-bridge between Islamabad and Kabul.
Pakistan hosted 17th Extraordinary Session of OIC-CFM in Islamabad on 19 December 2021 where, inter alia, the following was decided:
a. Establishment of a Humanitarian Trust Fund for Afghanistan (formalized during the 48th OIC Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in Islamabad)
b. Appointment of Ambassador Tarig Ali Bakheet as Special Envoy of the Secretary General of the OIC for Afghanistan
c. OIC General Secretariat, together with Islamic Development Bank and the Humanitarian Trust Fund, to devise a roadmap in concert with UN system organizations for unlocking financial and banking channels.
d. OIC General Secretariat, in concert with World Health Organization and other relevant stakeholders, shall secure vaccines and medical supplies for Covid-19
e. Launching an Afghanistan Food Security Programme, under the aegis of Islamic Organization for Food Security (IOFS)
Pakistan continued to provide free Covid-19 vaccination for all Afghans entering Pakistan, worked with the Bill Gates Foundation for the eradication of Polio in Afghanistan, and was allowing Afghan patients and their attendants entry into Pakistan to enable their treatment in hospitals across Pakistan.
Russia stood ready to continue its humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.
Tajikistan will continue to provide its logistics means, in particular through the six bridges across Tajik-Afghan border, to deliver humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan. Tajikistan will maintain the functioning of border crossing point Panji Poyon for transporting food and other vital products to the people of Afghanistan.
Tajikistan will also continue to offer medical services to the citizens of Afghanistan residing in Tajik-Afghan border areas.
Turkmenistan will continue to provide humanitarian support to Afghanistan on a systematic basis, which was expressed in the construction of medical and educational institutions on the territory of the neighboring country, preferential supplies of electricity, training of Afghan students in educational institutions of Turkmenistan, regularly sending of humanitarian convoys to Afghanistan, and other types of help and assistance.
Turkmenistan will continue to send humanitarian cargoes to Afghanistan with food, textile and household products, medicines and medical supplies, as well as oil products.
Turkmenistan from its own resources will supply medicines to the medical center built by Turkmenistan in the province of Faryab and the maternity hospital in the Turgundi city of the province of Herat.
Uzbekistan expressed readiness to use the capabilities of the international transport and logistics hub in the city of Termez for the delivery of humanitarian cargo to Afghanistan.
All parties recognize the importance of connectivity to the sustainable development of Afghanistan as a “land-locked country”, and stand ready to leverage their respective strengths to support Afghanistan in, based on the existing transportation networks with neighboring countries, exploring step by step new convenient channels to strengthen “hard connectivity” of infrastructure and “soft connectivity” of rules and standards with neighboring countries.
All parties are ready to strengthen cooperation in the implementation of transport agreements developed within the framework of the UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (ESCAP).
China supported the extension of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and the China-Central Asia-West Asia Economic Corridor to Afghanistan, and was ready to promote synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative and the development strategies of Afghanistan, and support the smooth operation of the China-Afghanistan freight train services, to help Afghanistan better integrate into the regional economic integration process.
Iran had paved the way for Afghanistan to connect to the world markets by the Khaf-Herat railway and planned to complete the railway and extend it to Central Asian countries via Mazar-e-Sharif to help Afghanistan get rid of land-lock limitations.
Iran was developing the port of Chabahar and will continue to develop the infrastructure of Chabahar port and its land and sea transit routes along with road projects such as the Mahiroud-Farah road undertaken by Iran in order to help strengthen the situation and transit position of Afghanistan.
Pakistan with its renewed focus on ‘geo-economics’ felt that the dividends of ‘regional’ connectivity cannot be realized without enduring peace in Afghanistan and will continue to support efforts contributing to regional connectivity.
Pakistan believed that Afghanistan can be connected with the CPEC project for enhanced connectivity, which will benefit the entire region, especially Central Asia, for trade and commerce.
Agreement between Uzbekistan and Pakistan for Transit Trade (AUPTT) had been made operational and test run of four consignments under this arrangement had already materialized from Karachi to Tashkent through Afghanistan. Movement of trucks under TIR had been successfully operationalized between Pakistan and Uzbekistan via Afghanistan.