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UN chief calls for injection of liquidity into Afghan economy

 New York:UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday called for the injection of liquidity to keep the Afghan economy afloat.

In addition to humanitarian aid, the international community needs to act to prevent the economic collapse of Afghanistan, he told reporters.

Even before the Taliban takeover in August, Afghanistan's fragile economy, which has been kept afloat by foreign aid over the past 20 years, suffered from the impact of drought and COVID-19. Right now, with assets frozen and development aid paused, the economy is breaking down. Banks are closing, and essential services, such as health care, have been suspended in many places, he noted.

"We need to find ways to make the economy breathe again. And this can be done without violating international laws or compromising principles. We must seek ways to create the conditions that would allow Afghan professionals and civil servants to continue working to serve the Afghan population," he said.

"I urge the world to take action and inject liquidity into the Afghan economy to avoid collapse," Guterres said.

 

 

 This is a make-or-break moment, wared Guterres. "If we do not act and help Afghans weather this storm, and do it soon, not only they but all the world will pay a heavy price."

Without food, without jobs, without their rights protected, more and more Afghans will flee their homes in search of a better life. The flow of illicit drugs, criminal and terrorist networks will also likely increase. This will not only badly affect Afghanistan itself, but also the region and the rest of the world, he warned.

Guterres said the issue of injecting liquidity should be treated independently of other issues, such as the questions of recognition or nonrecognition of a government in Afghanistan, the question related to sanctions, and the questions related to frozen assets.

"There are many questions of these that, obviously, the international community will be discussing with the Taliban and that will require that the Taliban abide by a number of important aspects, be it related to human rights and the rights of women and girls, in particular, be it in relation to the question of terrorism, be it ... the inclusivity of the government," he said.

Independently of those measures, there are forums to inject cash inside the economy through different entities, through nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), through UN agencies to allow for the people to receive assistance, he said. "And this is what we have been asking."

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