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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday, 11 October urged the international community to inject liquidity into the Afghan economy. Speaking to reporters in New York, Guterres said that in addition to humanitarian aid, the global community needs to act to prevent the economic collapse of the war-ravaged country. He said that the world needs to find ways to make the economy breathe again. 

The UN chief said, “Humanitarian assistance saves lives. But it will not solve the problem if the economy of Afghanistan collapses. We also need to make sure we do everything we can to prevent the economic collapse of the country.” 

“This can be done without violating international laws or compromising principles. We must seek ways to create conditions that would allow Afghan professionals and civil servants to continue working to serve the Afghan population. I urge the world to take action and inject liquidity into the Afghan economy to avoid collapse,” Guterres said. 

Further, the UN chief noted that 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. He explained that 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, Guterres noted.

“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,” the UN chief warned. 

UN urges Taliban to deliver on their promises 

Guterres said that the Afghan people cannot suffer collective punishment because the Taliban misbehave. He went on to even say that the diplomatic recognition of the Taliban and the injection of liquidity are completely different things. Moreover, he said that the Taliban should deliver on their promises on the issues of women’s rights.

“Since their takeover, the Taliban have — at various times — promised Afghan citizens, including women, children, minority communities, former government employees, that they would protect their rights,” he said. 

“I strongly appeal to the Taliban to keep their promises to women and girls and fulfil their obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law,” the UN chief added. 

(With inputs from ANI)