ISLAMABAD – Pakistan’s national security adviser said on Wednesday that his country could no longer host Afghan refugees for several reasons, including financial constraints.
“Pakistan is currently unable to accept more refugees,” Moeed Yusuf said at a press conference in the capital, Islamabad. He said Pakistan already hosts more than 3 million Afghan refugees who have fled war and violence in their country in recent decades.
Yusuf said Pakistan will try to do everything possible to help the Afghans, but international efforts should be stepped up to prevent a humanitarian crisis. He called on the world community not to repeat the past mistake of abandoning Afghanistan.
Yusuf also warned that ISIS and other activists – including the Pakistani Taliban who have sought refuge across the border – could exploit such a situation.
“You don’t have to think too much to know what’s going to happen. There will be a security vacuum. You already know that the Islamic State is present there, the Pakistani Taliban are present there, al-Qaida is there, ”he said, adding that these groups are sworn enemies of both Pakistan and the West.
“If Afghanistan destabilizes, the ripple effect spreads to Pakistan,” he said. Yusuf also called on the international community to engage constructively with the Taliban in the interest of peace and stability in the region.
MORE ABOUT AFGHANISTAN:
– Afghan killed by drone greeted by colleagues from US aid group
– Iran resumes commercial flights to Afghanistan
– Indiana Marine killed in Afghanistan remembers as a hero
– Interview with PA: UN refugee chief says Afghan stability is needed
– Virginia and Wisconsin report measles cases among refugees
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS:
BEIJING – China says it maintains contact between its embassy in Afghanistan and the Taliban and calls for the unfreezing of Afghan government funds held abroad.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Wednesday that the Chinese embassy in Kabul “is operating normally.”
“We are ready to maintain communication with the new Afghan authority,” Zhao said.
China has yet to say whether it will recognize the Taliban government, but is actively wooing its top officials, welcoming a delegation led by its political leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in July, shortly before the group rose to power. in the midst of the withdrawal of American forces. and the massive exodus of Afghans fearing a return of the intransigent Islamic regime of the Taliban.
China has also strongly criticized the nature of the pullout and, while wary of the rise of radicalism on its western border, has generally supported the group seen as defeating its strategic rival, the United States.
Afghanistan is now on the brink of economic collapse and although China has offered its support, it is unclear when or how it will.
Last week, the Taliban announced an all-male caretaker government, but the exclusion of other political factions and women made it unlikely that they would gain broad international support or international recognition as legitimate leaders of the Afghanistan.
Without such recognition, the Taliban will be unable to tap into the billions of their frozen funds overseas, almost all of which come from the United States and other foreign donors.
Zhao said these funds should be unfrozen and handed over to the Taliban. “These assets belong to Afghanistan and the Afghan people,” Zhao said.
“The United States should face Afghanistan’s justified and reasonable appeals, drop the imposition of sanctions and pressures, and not hamper the economy, livelihoods and peaceful reconstruction of Afghanistan,” he said. Zhao said.
ISLAMABAD – Members of the Afghan women’s football team and their families have arrived in Pakistan after fleeing their country following the Taliban takeover, local media reported on Wednesday.
It is not known how many Afghan women players and their family members were allowed into Pakistan.
According to Pakistani Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, Afghan footballers entered Pakistan through the northwestern border post at Torkham in possession of valid travel documents.
“We welcome the Afghanistan women’s football team,” Chaudhry tweeted, without providing further details.
However, the English-language Pakistani newspaper The DAWN reported that Afghan women footballers were given emergency humanitarian visas after the Taliban took control of Kabul, fearing the Taliban would not want women to participate in the sport.
The Taliban did not comment on developments, but an official confirmed that their government’s interpretation of Islam is that women are not allowed to participate in sports where they could potentially be exposed. The official was not authorized to speak with the media before any official announcement.
Last week, the Taliban announced an all-male interim government for Afghanistan, with veterans of their hardline 1990s rule and the 20-year battle against the US-led coalition. The move seems unlikely to win the international support the new leaders desperately need to avoid an economic collapse.
– Munir Ahmed in Islamabad;
THE HAGUE, Netherlands – The Dutch Foreign Ministry said it was evacuating nearly 150 people from Pakistan who had fled Afghanistan.
The Dutch government said Wednesday’s flight would take on nearly 50 Dutch nationals and their Afghan families as well as Afghans who have worked closely with the Netherlands in Afghanistan – mostly translators.
The Hague government has come under fire in recent weeks for failing to act sooner to evacuate Afghans who have worked with the government for the past 20 years.
Many of these Afghans fear persecution as a result of the Taliban’s rapid march to power.
The charter flight will also take nearly 100 other people who will fly from Amsterdam to other European countries.