Taliban warn US, EU of economic refugees if Afghanistan sanctions continue

Taliban warn US, EU of economic refugees if Afghanistan sanctions continue

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Kabul: Afghanistan’s new Taliban government warned the US and European envoys that continued attempts to pressure them through sanctions would undermine security and could trigger a wave of economic refugees.

Acting foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi told Western diplomats at talks in Doha that “weakening the Afghan government is not in the interest of anyone because its negative effects will directly affect the world in (the) security sector and economic migration from the country”, according to a statement published late Tuesday.

After two years of conflict, the Taliban overthrew the former Afghan government backed by the United States in August and declared an Islamic emirate to be governed by the movement’s tough interpretation of religious laws.

However, efforts to stabilize the country are still facing attacks from the Islamic State, but they have been undermined by international sanctions: the bank has run out of cash and civil servants are not paid for their work.

According to the statement from his spokesperson, 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 in particular are concerned that if the Afghan economy collapses, a large number 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 European Union have stated that they are prepared to support Afghanistan’s humanitarian initiatives, but they are cautious about providing direct support to the Taliban, but they do not guarantee that the Taliban respect human rights, especially women’s rights.

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