Looming Humanitarian Crisis in Afghanistan

Pakistan’s current geo-economic vision was focused primarily on growth. This would however be only possible with stability in Afghanistan. They raised certain complications about the Taliban regime such as the much discussed in international circles “Gender Issue.” The inclusiveness of not only women but separate ethnic groups in government and other major decision-making bodies is what needs answering the most right now. Ms. Amna Munawwar Awan

Decades of conflict has fractured Afghanistan politically, economically, and socially as the conflict has drawn the civilian population into cycles of devastation that have wholly changed the country’s political, economic, and social structures. As the United States exits from Afghanistan, on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, it is important to reflect on the broader and longer-term reverberations of that withdrawal especially the emerging humanitarian crisis. Effective engagement by regional countries, including neighboring countries and the wider region, will be crucial in promoting and sustaining a durable peace along with solving the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. In this regard, the 17th Extraordinary Session of OIC Council of Foreign Ministers in Pakistan to discuss grave humanitarian situation proved to be a stepping stone in finding solutions to the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and this was also an opportunity for world capitals to know about ground realities from the Taliban representatives. Under such circumstances, a positive relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan could go a long way in fostering stability and development in the region.

To address this situation and the accompanying geo-political dynamics, the Center of Pakistan and International Relations (COPAIR) organized a webinar titled “Looming Humanitarian Crisis in Afghanistan” The panelist of the webinar included professional experts and academic scholars on the pertinent topic with moderator Miss Sumaira Khan.

Ambassador of Islamic Republic of Pakistan to Afghanistan- Mansoor Ahmad Khan the country’s foremost expert on the situation currently in Afghanistan due to being directly on ground ever since the events of August 15th. In his keynote address expressed his gratitude towards COPAIR for holding the webinar on such a crucial topic. He explained how the current situation in Afghanistan was unique in many ways. After the vacuum left by the departure of the former Afghan government and all UN/NATO troops present at the time, there was chaos in the country. The void was filled by the Taliban but their government having been unrecognized by the rest of the World has given rise to many issues. Their assets being frozen in foreign accounts has led to the collapse of the country’s banking system rendering the transfer of foreign funds into the country almost impossible. However, the Ambassador is still hopeful about the future of the Taliban regime as he feels they have stepped upto their roles despite having to step through many pitfalls.

After the vacuum left by the departure of the former Afghan government and all UN/NATO troops present at the time, there was chaos in the country. The void was filled by the Taliban but their government having been unrecognized by the rest of the World has given rise to many issues. Their assets being frozen in foreign accounts has led to the collapse of the country’s banking system rendering the transfer of foreign funds into the country almost impossible. Ambassador Mansoor Ahmed Khan

President COPAIR- Ms. Amna Munawwar Awan express her profound gratitude by welcoming the speakers and audience. She believed Pakistan’s current geo-economic vision was focused primarily on growth. This would however be only possible with stability in Afghanistan. They raised certain complications about the Taliban regime such as the much discussed in international circles “Gender Issue.” The inclusiveness of not only women but separate ethnic groups in government and other major decision-making bodies is what needs answering the most right now.

Chairman, COPAIR, ISSI- Ambassador (Retd.) Khalid Mahmood reiterated how Afghanistan was not the talk of the town but rather the World. While giving an extensive review over Afghanistan’s political history he mentioned that the country had been in the eye of the millstone for centuries. This was the first time in history for a long time that there were no foreign forces occupying Afghanistan. The country was facing a major brain drain due to the exodus of migrants into other parts of the World. This was not only a major issue for Afghanistan but also the country’s having to receive these refuges due to burden on their infrastructure.

Coordinator at Pak-Afghan Youth Forum- Shahid Khan discussed in detail about the trade statistics between the two neighbors. He explained that while there was a time when trade between the two reached up to $800 million it was currently at only $328 million. Another thing he discussed that while in November-December the trade flow was heavier from Pakistan’s side, in January the situation had changed and Afghanistan was leading in exports. He also talked about the deterrents of “Unofficial trade” between the two and why it was so crucial.

In the end, the worthy Chairman thanked the speakers and the participants for the illuminating discussion. The event was well-attended and well-received by the audience.

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