Tashkent Conference on Afghanistan (Photo: social media)

KABUL, Afghanistan – The acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Amir Khan Muttaqi said that the US-imposed sanctions on Afghanistan have hindered the overall progress of the country, calling on the United States government to release Afghanistan’s Central Bank assets.

Speaking at the Tashkent conference on Afghanistan Tuesday, Muttaqi exclaimed the decades-long war and ongoing US sanctions are the main reasons for poverty in the country, adding the Islamic Emirate government is now ready to engage with the world based on mutual interest.

“The 20-year war affected our country, our economic system is under US economic sanctions,” he said, as TOLOnews quoted. “This action has not only prevented the transaction of money but also diminished the activities of our government which benefits only the people.”

According to the Acting Minister, lifting economic sanctions against Afghanistan is the best way to normalize relationship between the two countries, saying such a move will as well leave a positive impact on the mind of Afghan people.

“We call on the US to release Afghanistan’s Central Bank assets without any conditions and lift economic sanctions on Afghanistan,” he said. “This is the main step for normalization of relations. This will have a positive impact on the minds of the Afghans toward the US.”

Anas Haqqani, a senior member of the Islamic Emirate who is also part of the delegation, said the international community sees the need for engagement with Afghanistan, exclaiming a number of regional countries have defended the country.

“The world sees engagement with Afghanistan as a necessity,” he said. “The regional countries, including China, Russia and some other countries, have raised their voices to defend Afghanistan and have called for the release of Afghan assets.”

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Meanwhile, the Deputy National Security Adviser of Uzbekistan Abdulaziz Kamilov stressed the need for the formation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan, saying a joint-venture is needed to eradicate terrorism in Afghanistan.

“The formation of an inclusive government means inclusion of all tribes in Afghanistan particularly women,” he said. “This can help in the betterment of the current situation. We should cooperate with each other in countering the terrorism in Afghanistan.”

European Union’s envoy for Afghanistan Tomas Niklasson said it a thread that he is grateful to Uzbekistan for hosting more than 20 Special Representatives and Envoys for Afghanistan in Tashkent, allowing us to “demonstrate international unity in what we expect from the Taliban.”

“I underlined the lack of a recognised Afghan government and the need for inclusive governance where all Afghan women and men have a say and where different political factions and ethnic and sectarian groups are represented,” he wrote.

“I underlined the serious human rights situation as reported by UNAMA, including the rights of women and girls, ethnic and sectarian groups – notably Hazaras and Shias – and media freedom,” he continued.

“Addressing Afghanistan’s economic challenges requires the Taliban to demonstrate budget transparency, ensure legal clarity and Rule of Law and take credible action to guarantee the independence and technical capacity of the Central Bank,” he elaborated.

The Tashkent conference on Afghanistan came at a time Taliban government continued to pushing for formal recognition. But so far no country has granted such a wish, though diplomats of Pakistan, Iran, China and Russia – including a number of other international countries – are operating in Afghanistan.

International community – including world leaders – laid down conditions before giving the Taliban a formal identity to lead the Afghanistan republic government: 1- Observe women’s right, 2- freedom of speech, 3- formation of inclusive government, 4- and never use of Afghan soil as a threat to other countries, including the United States.

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