Pakistan-initiated OIC meet on Afghanistan proves a damp squib

By Kshvid News Desk

Pakistan on December 19 hosted a special meeting of the 57-member Organization of Islamic Countries aimed at providing aid to the Afghan people, who are battling a grim winter season amid suspension of all international aid.
The 17th Extraordinary Session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers was the biggest conference on Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover in August 2021. Delegates from the US, Russia, China and the UN were also present.

After the meeting, the OIC resolved to work with the United Nations to find a way out to unfreeze Afghan assets abroad, estimated to be worth several hundreds of millions of dollars. These assets have been frozen since the Taliban takeover of Kabul.

For the international community, the situation in Afghanistan is a unique challenge. On the one hand, millions of Afghans are battling a humanitarian crisis in the absence of food, medicine, winter clothing and education. However, providing any assistance to the country would require legitimizing the Taliban government that not only seized power in Kabul unlawfully, but also has severely curtailed the rights of women and minorities, has clamped down on girls education and has been killing officials of former Afghan govt and the Afghan National Army.

With no international government engaging with the Taliban, it fell upon Pakistan, which has tried to present itself as the friend of the Afghan people, to call upon all Muslim countries to find a way out to resume international aid to Kabul. Pakistan is also concerned that if the economic situation in Afghanistan deteriorates further, the flow of Afghan refugees to the country will also increase substantially, increasing economic burden on Pakistan.
Of course, it is also well-known that Pakistan has been a sympathizer and principal sponsor of the Taliban, and by highlighting the plight of ordinary Afghans, it wants the world to recognize the new regime in Kabul.

At the OIC meeting, Pakistani PM Imran Khan urged the United States to consider the four crore Afghan population as separate from the Taliban. He then also went off-course and brought in his Kashmir agenda, saying the OIC must have a unified response for Kashmir and Palestine.
However, considering Talibans image and its worrying records on human rights, the OIC knows it would be a challenge to convince the world to resume normal relations with the regime. Therefore, at the meeting, the OIC also called upon the Taliban, whose foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi was also attending, to abide by “obligations under international human rights covenants, especially with regards to the rights of women, children, youth, elderly and people with special needs”. It also resolved to prepare a team of International Muslim scholars that will engage with the Taliban on issues like tolerance in Islam, womens rights, education for girls, etc.
Although the 57 Muslim countries pledged to work to provide financial and humanitarian aid to Afghanistan and to try and get its assets unfrozen, there was no financial commitment by any nation. Which goes on to show that Pakistan’s move to involve the OIC may not produce the desired results.

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