Interview with Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid on June 22, 2022 with the “Red Light” program on Iran’s Sahar international network. (Press TV)
Kabul, MINA – The Taliban are urging the United States (US) to unfreeze Afghan assets after a powerful earthquake hit a rugged mountainous region in the impoverished country’s east.
The disaster is a new test for Taliban rulers and Afghan aid agencies who have been struggling with multiple humanitarian crises. The complete devastation among the villages tucked away in the mountains was slow to unfold.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Iran’s Sahar TV late Wednesday, an emergency session was held after the earthquake to establish a crisis management headquarters, Press TV reports.
“This headquarters was set up with the participation of the ministers of health, defense, culture, home affairs and others, and it was decided that their representatives should immediately reach the affected areas to provide assistance,” he said.
It was also decided to provide food, household utensils, tents and other basic necessities, Mujahid said.
He added that the Ministry of Defense was asked to provide all ground and air assistance to help the injured, while the Ministry of Health had to send the necessary medicines and relief teams as soon as possible to treat the injured.
The catastrophe wrought by the 6.1-magnitude quake added to misery in a country where its health system has collapsed since the US and NATO withdrawal in August 2021. The takeover saw vital international financing cut off, and much of the world has avoided the Taliban government.
In a rare move, the Taliban’s supreme leader, Haibatullah Akhundzadah appealed to the international community and humanitarian organizations “to help the Afghan people affected by this great tragedy.”
International organizations, the Red Crescent and many countries, including the Islamic Republic of Iran, Pakistan, Russia and several other countries have expressed their readiness to help Afghanistan, a Taliban spokesman said.
But, he reiterated Afghanistan’s call on the US to relinquish state assets. There are about $7 billion in Afghan funds from the country’s central bank frozen in the United States.
In February, US President Joe Biden signed an executive order that would seize Afghan assets and transfer half of them to a fund purportedly devoted to humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.
The freeze continues as the Afghan economy is on the verge of collapse, inflation is soaring, and millions of Afghans are on the brink of starvation.
However, Washington’s callous indifference to the humanitarian crisis is known to all.
As Iran was hit by the Middle East’s worst coronavirus pandemic, calls rose from around the world to the United States to ease sanctions on the country so the Islamic Republic could buy vital medical equipment and vaccines from abroad, but Washington would not.
On Wednesday, the Iranian Embassy in Kabul said Iran had sent two cargo planes carrying first aid supplies to the quake-hit country. (T/RE1)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)