Iran on Sunday renewed its call for an inclusive government in Afghanistan at a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Pakistan held to address the humanitarian crisis in the war-weary nation.
“Lasting security and political and social stability in Afghanistan will occur only through real collective participation and an inclusive and effective government in which all ethnicities and religions have a part,” Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told the 17th Extraordinary Session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers in Islamabad.
Amir-Abdollahian warned that the delay in forming an all-encompassing government could pave the way for the enemies of the Afghan people to “spread chaos, poverty and famine” after 20 years of occupation and destruction through the Daesh terror group.
He stressed that humanitarian aid along with national reconciliation and cooperation among regional and Muslim nations to fight terrorism, insecurity and instability is among “the most urgent measures” that should be taken to alleviate the crises in Afghanistan.
The top diplomat called for a fund to be set up by Muslim nations to help Afghans who are in dire need of international assistance.
Amir-Abdollahian also demanded that all Afghan assets in foreign banks be released.
The United States froze those assets after the Taliban took over Afghanistan in the wake of a hasty and disorderly withdrawal of foreign forces in mid-August.
The Iranian minister also urged the United Nations to “play a leading role” in contributing to the formation of an inclusive government, assisting the people of Afghanistan, and preventing a new humanitarian catastrophe.
Iran assistance hailed
On the sidelines of the conference, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) applauded Iran for aiding the people of Afghanistan.
An ICRC delegation met Amir-Abdollahian and praised Iran for its constructive role in supporting the Afghan people, Tasnim News Agency reported.
The delegation also gave a report on the ICRC’s humanitarian assistance program in Afghanistan, saying the Geneva-based organization has established 12 assistance bases across Afghanistan with the participation of some 1,850 forces, including the local and foreign staffers.
Envoys from 57 Muslim nations attended at the OIC meeting, while testing diplomatic ties with Afghanistan’s new ruler, Taliban.
The meeting is the biggest major conference on Afghanistan since the US-backed government fell in August, AFP wrote.
After the Taliban's lightning return to power, billions of dollars in aid and assets were frozen and the nation of 38 million now faces a bitter winter.
The UN has repeatedly warned that Afghanistan is on the brink of the world's worst humanitarian emergency with a combined food, fuel and cash crisis.
Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi were among the delegates, alongside others from the United States, China, Russia, the European Union and the UN.
Pakistani officials said 70 delegations have participated in the conference.
No nations have yet formally recognized the Taliban government. Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were the only three countries to recognize the previous Taliban government of 1996 to 2001.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the meeting would speak "for the people of Afghanistan" rather than "a particular group".
Qureshi said there was a difference between "recognition and engagement" with the new order in Kabul.
"Let us nudge them through persuasion, through incentives, to move in the right direction," he told reporters ahead of the OIC meeting.
"A policy of coercion and intimidation did not work. If it had worked, we wouldn't have been in this situation."