Iran’s foreign minister says the Islamic Republic supports delivery of humanitarian aid to Afghanistan regardless of political issues and keeps its borders open for this purpose.
Hossein Amir-Abdollahian made the remarks in a Sunday meeting with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan on the sidelines of the 17th Extraordinary Session of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers in Islamabad.
Congratulating the Pakistani prime minister for holding the meeting, Iran’s top diplomat underscored the necessity of sending humanitarian aid to Afghanistan as soon as possible.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran supports dispatch of humanitarian aid to Afghanistan regardless of political issues,” Amir-Abdollahian said, adding, “To this end, while keeping its borders open, the Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to cooperate with all countries to get aid to people of Afghanistan.”
Around 300,000 Afghan refugees have entered Iran following the collapse of the Kabul government and the Taliban’s takeover, at a time when the Iranian nation is facing unilateral sanctions and the international humanitarian bodies are keeping silent on such “inhumane” bans.
Afghanistan is facing what UN agencies have described as “one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters” since the collapse of Kabul in mid-August.
Addressing the 112th session of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Council earlier this month, Mahdi Aliabadi, the deputy permanent representative of Iran at the UN headquarters in Geneva, said the international community must speed up the delivery of humanitarian aid not only to Afghanistan but also to its neighboring states hosting a large flux of Afghan refugees before the winter encroaches.
He said Iran had carried out broad measures over the past four decades to support the Afghan refugees, adding that the country had “spared no effort to improve living conditions, health and medical services, including the provision of coronavirus vaccines, education of students and other issues related to this group of Afghan brothers and sisters.”
Elsewhere in his Sunday address, Amir-Abdollahian once again reiterated Iran's stance on the importance of the formation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan, which would represent all ethnic groups, as the sole way to establish endurable peace and stability in the war-ravaged country.
Iran's foreign minister voiced Iran's readiness to cooperate with Afghanistan's neighbors, regional countries and the United Nations to help facilitate the establishment of a broad-based popular government in Kabul.
The Pakistani premier, for his part, said the Islamic Republic plays a leading role in regional developments, particularly in establishing peace and stability in Afghanistan.
Khan said Islamabad supports the formation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan, stressing the importance of dispatching aid to the Afghan people as winter approaches and the war-hit country suffers from lack of fuel and foodstuff.
Meanwhile, IRNA quoted a statement by Pakistani Prime Minister's Office as saying after Khan's meeting with Iran's foreign minister that Amir-Abdollahian and Khan discussed the latest developments in the region, particularly those related to the Afghan crisis, and Tehran-Islamabad cooperation.
It added that the Pakistani prime minister hailed Iran's unwavering support for his country's regional positions and officially invited Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi to pay a visit to Islamabad.
Immediate international assistance is essential to prevent economic collapse in Afghanistan and improve its people's livelihood is inevitable, the statement added.
During the meeting, the statement said, the Pakistani premier expressed hope that the Extraordinary Session of the OIC Foreign Ministers would encourage member states to help Afghanistan. He also called on the international community to find more ways to participate in Afghanistan's reconstruction and the development of its infrastructures.
The US military withdrew its forces from Afghanistan 20 years after they invaded the country to topple the Taliban, in a war that killed, according to one estimate, between 897,000 and 929,000 people.
Since the Taliban regained power in Afghanistan, the US and its allies have imposed sanctions on the country and deprived Afghans of any aid and assistance on the pretext of pressuring the Taliban.
However, human rights activists maintain that economic sanctions generally do not punish the rulers, but rather, hurt the population, lead to mass starvation, and fuel extremism in the targeted country.
Addressing the 17th Extraordinary Session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers on Sunday, the Iranian foreign minister said establishment of sustainable security and stability in the war-torn Afghanistan is only possible through the formation of an inclusive government, which would represent all ethnic groups and religions in the country. “We believe that sustainable security, and political and social stability in Afghanistan are possible only through real collective participation and an inclusive and effective government in which all ethnicities and religions play a role.”