(Update 1: Adds Afghan FM’s remarks, changes slug, headline)
Kabul, Dec 19 (EFE).- Afghanistan’s foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi on Sunday encouraged Islamic states to invest in his country, which has been struggling with a severe economic and humanitarian crisis.
“There exists a great opportunity for foreign investment,” Muttaqi said during an Organization of Islamic Cooperation summit held in Islamabad.
“We call on the international investors and specifically those from Islamic countries to begin investments in Afghanistan,” he added.
“We from our side assure them about providing all necessary facilities. As a result of the prevalent security, Afghanistan can now transform into a hub of regional economic connectivity,” the minister said.
The international community should provide political and economic support to Afghanistan as its isolation “is not beneficial for anyone”, he said.
He said freezing Afghanistan’s funds and suspending international aid projects “have led to health, education and social services teetering on the brink, all of this has only harmed the general public” of a war-torn country that has been hit by Covid-19 and drought.
Earlier in the day, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan warned of the “biggest man-made crisis” in Afghanistan if the global community failed to address its deteriorating economic situation.
“If the world does not act, this will be the biggest man-made crisis which is unfolding in front of us,” Khan said.
He said the international community, especially the United States, needed to step in to alleviate the suffering of Afghan people.
“We must have to and they (US) must de-link the Taliban government from the 40 million Afghan citizens,” said the prime minister.
“That is why it is very important that action is taken immediately.”
More than 70 delegates, including ministers and deputy ministers from 30 countries, representatives from the United Nations, Islamic Development Bank, and aid agency leaders, attended the day-long summit of the foreign ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation member states.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi warned of the danger of a complete economic meltdown in Afghanistan.
He said the consequences of a major humanitarian crisis and economic collapse in Afghanistan would be horrendous.
It could trigger massive human suffering, the mass exodus of Afghan refugees, radicalization, and terrorism with grave consequences for regional and global peace and security, said Qureshi.
“The Afghan economy is likely to witness a contraction of 30 percent within a year unless the tide is stemmed.”
He said Afghanistan needed cash to revive the economy, pay salaries, restore small businesses, and reboot the banking system.
Martin Griffiths, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator echoed the concern.
The international community needed to act decisively with compassion, Griffiths said.