Freezing assets not a solution to Taliban, Qureshi says
Pakistan has urged world powers to release the billions of dollars in Afghan assets frozen after the Taliban takeover even though it does not expect the new government to be recognised any time soon.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi spoke about Afghanistan upon his arrival in New York to attend the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
Ahead of talks on Afghanistan at the UN General Assembly, Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the immediate priority was to prevent an economic crisis in Afghanistan, which could lead to widespread destruction.
Shah Mehmood Qureshi said, “On the one hand, you are raising new funds to prevent a crisis and meanwhile, there is the money they cannot use.”
He said freezing assets is not a solution for the Taliban. He urged that world powers should reconsider their policy and unblock the assets. It will be a confidence-building measure that will encourage positive behaviour.
The United States has frozen $9.5 billion of Afghan central bank assets, and international investors are reluctant to loosen their grip because they are afraid that their money will be used by the Taliban.
The federal minister said it was too early to establish regular relationships with Afghanistan’s new interim government. Nobody was in a hurry to recognize the Taliban’s government at the moment but they should keep an eye on it, he said.
“If the Taliban wants to recognize their government, they must accept international opinions.”
Qureshi has seen a “positive attitude” from the Taliban, including announcing a general amnesty and agreed to include ethnic groups other than Pashtun.