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Revival of Afghan economy will benefit Pakistan, says UN envoy

UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan told the UN Security Council (UNSC) on Tuesday that massive dollar smuggling into Afghanistan has had a devastating impact on its economy and currency, and called on the world body to help revive the economy and system. Afghan banking.

At the special session of the UN Security Council, UN Special Representative for Afghanistan Roza Otunbayeva urged the international community to hold talks with the country’s de facto rulers because an attitude of “dialogue is not recognition” was needed ” to solve various problems.

But the representative of the former Afghan government opposed the UN suggestion and instead urged the council to “keep up the pressure on the Taliban” to end the “apartheid” they have imposed on women and girls.

“The massive smuggling of dollars from Pakistan to Afghanistan has had a devastating impact on Pakistan’s economy and currency,” UN envoy Munir Akram told the council.

The ambassador noted that the rupee “stabilized” and regained some of its strength after Pakistan launched a crackdown on money smuggling.

Underlining the impact of a weak Afghan economy on Pakistan, Ambassador Akram urged the world body to help revive the banking system in Afghanistan, release and return the country’s assets abroad and provide financial support for development projects.

“We look forward to early implementation of the ready-to-run regional connectivity projects between Pakistan-Afghanistan-Central Asia as well as Pakistan-China and Afghanistan,” he said.

TTP Threat

The ambassador argued that for Pakistan, the “immediate and greatest threat” was posed by the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), as it was behind a series of cross-border terror attacks.

“We have been assured that action has been taken against TTP elements involved (in recent attacks) and further steps will be taken to prevent TTP terrorism against Pakistan,” Munir Akram said. “Pakistan will welcome these measures once they are credibly implemented.”

Ambassador Akram argued that unless the TTP and other terrorist groups were neutralized, they would continue to pose a threat to Afghanistan’s neighbors and the international community.

UN Special Representative Otunbayeva told the Security Council that the international community must continue to engage with the Taliban in Afghanistan despite “deep disagreement” with its approach to women’s rights and inclusive governance.

He cited a U.N. report based on more than 500 interviews with Afghan women, 46 percent of whom said the Taliban should not be recognized under any circumstances.

“The question, however, is whether to continue collaborating with de facto authorities despite these policies, or stop collaborating because of them,” he said.

“Dialogue is not recognition. Commitment is not acceptance of these policies. On the contrary, dialogue and compromise are how we try to change them.”

Published in Dawn, September 27, 2023

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