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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

China: ‘lift sanctions on Afghanistan’

by New Worker correspondent

THE RUSSIANS are calling on People’s China, Pakistan, India and Iran to join them for talks on Afghanistan in Moscow next week. The new Taliban government in Afghanistan has also been invited to take part in the forum, which will chart out the measures the Taliban administration needs to take to return to the international arena. The Kremlin hopes that the meeting will pave the way for a UN-sponsored high-level conference to provide assistance to rebuild the Afghan economy following decades of conflict and imperialist occupation.

A US embargo has been in place since the fall of the puppet regime in August. The USA has frozen billions of dollars in assets belonging to the Afghan Central Bank, and the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have suspended financial aid to the country’s new government.

Some emergency assistance via UN agencies is getting through and some aid from Pakistan, Qatar, China, Uzbekistan and the United Arab Emirates has already arrived at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport. But much more is needed.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called for immediate action in Afghanistan: “The economy of Afghanistan is breaking down. Banks are closing and essential services, such as healthcare, have been suspended in many places. I urge the world to take action and inject liquidity into the Afghan economy to avoid collapse.”

There’s no doubt that the new Taliban government will support any initiative that paves the way to international recognition and speeds up the delivery of the emergency supplies they desperately need. But their request to address the UN General Assembly was turned down and talks with their neighbours and their former enemies, including Britain and the USA, have failed to produce the diplomatic breakthrough they seek.

In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the USA and NATO left a lot of weapons and military equipment in Afghanistan, and it is important to ensure the stockpile is not used for destructive purposes. The Russian minister urged the Taliban to keep their promises regarding the fight against drug trafficking and terrorism, and he called on the USA and NATO to take a more responsible position on the issue of Afghan refugees.

The Taliban are expected to respond positively to the Russian overtures as they seek the Kremlin’s assistance in reconstruction of war-torn Afghanistan.

Afghan Deputy Minister of Information and Culture Zabihullah Mujahid said he hoped that Russia would help rebuild the country, destroyed from decades of war.

“We are looking forward to co-operation with all countries, and foreign investment plays a significant role here. Russia is an important country in terms of economy. Afghanistan has been destroyed during the war. Russia and other countries could help to restore it. We welcome such assistance and are hoping for financial support,” he said.

“First of all, we are talking about diplomatic ties, without which further co-operation is simply impossible. We are negotiating with Russia, mainly on the recognition of our government and the resumption of the work of the embassies. Resolving these issues will pave the way for further co-operation,” Mujahid said.

Meanwhile, People’s China has announced that it will provide Afghanistan with 200 million yuan in emergency aid for mostly food, materials for winter, medicines and COVID‑19 vaccines. The first batch of supplies has already been delivered.

China has called on the Western powers to lift their sanctions and respect Afghanistan’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, and to let the Afghan people decide their destiny and contribution to the region’s peace, stability, prosperity and development. China supports the Afghans to realise a peaceful and prosperous future in their country and the people’s government is ready to work with all parties to help Afghans open up a new chapter in their country’s history.