The new Taliban leadership in Afghanistan has warned US and European envoys that the prolonged sanctions will undermine security and may result in a flood of economic refugees.
Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi told Western diplomats in Doha that weakening the Afghan government is not in anyone’s interest because its negative effects will directly affect the world in the security sector and economic migration from the country, according to a statement released late Tuesday.
After a two-decade battle, the Taliban ousted Afghanistan’s old US-backed government in August. However, efforts to stabilize the country continue to be thwarted by rival extremist group the ISIS.
According to the statement from his spokesman, Muttaqi told the Doha meeting: “We urge world countries to end existing sanctions and let banks operate normally so that charity groups, organisations and the government can pay salaries to their staff with their own reserves and international financial assistance.”
European countries are concerned that if the Afghan economy collapses, large numbers of migrants will set off for the continent, piling pressure on neighbouring states such as Pakistan and Iran and eventually on EU borders.
Washington and the EU have said they are ready to back humanitarian initiatives in Afghanistan, but are wary of providing direct support to the Taliban without guarantees it will respect human rights, in particular women’s rights.