Afghanistan’s neighboring countries including Iran, Pakistan, China, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Russia attended a conference in Tashkent on Tuesday and called on the US to unfreeze Afghan central bank assets.
During the inaugural meeting on Tuesday, the foreign ministers of the seven countries discussed ways to achieve long-term peace in war-ravaged Afghanistan, and continue the delivery of humanitarian aid to the people of Afghanistan during these difficult times.
The conference was held in the absence of the Taliban representatives in Tashkent. Besides, several neighboring countries including Russia, China, Iran, and Pakistan have officially handed over the Afghan Embassies to the Taliban diplomats, the group is still not invited to such meetings on regional levels.
Other than Tajikistan, all other six countries including Iran, Pakistan, China, Russia, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan have close ties with the Taliban regime. Additionally, these countries have their embassies operational in Kabul. The so-called ‘regional club’ convened the situation in Afghanistan and discussed ways to find solutions to the existing problems.
Despite their absence, Taliban officials welcomed the inauguration of such conferences which benefits Afghanistan in one way or the other – be it humanitarian issues, governance, or economic development projects.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s neighboring countries have repeatedly called on the Islamic Emirate authorities to respect human rights, lift the restrictions on women and girls attending education, and form an all-inclusive government so that everyone can see them represented in the regime. However, the Taliban officials have their own priorities and policies, and no progress is seen as of now.
“The foreign ministers reiterated the return of the Afghan central bank asset should be used primarily to pay the salaries of school teachers, and doctors, and contribute towards the living conditions of the general population,” Uzbek special representative Ismatilla Ergashev said.
Following the overthrow of the previous regime in August 2021, the United States froze some $7 billion of Afghanistan’s central bank assets, with a further $2 billion frozen in European banks.