FM Qureshi Says US, Allies Should Unfreeze Afghanistan’s Financial Assets As Confidence-Building Measure

If Taliban want recognition as the new rulers of Afghanistan, they will have to be more sensitive to international opinions and norms, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said.

Qureshi made these remarks in New York on Tuesday, where he is attending the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

“I don’t think anybody is in a rush to recognise at this stage and the Taliban should keep an eye on that,” he said. “If the Taliban want recognition, they have to be more sensitive and more receptive to international opinion,” he added.


The foreign minister said that Pakistan had been urging the Afghans to form an inclusive government as the main objective for the Pakistani government was peace and stability in the war-torn country.

According to their initial statements, the Taliban don’t seem averse to the idea, Qureshi said. “So, let’s see,” he added.

Qureshi said he hoped the Afghan Taliban would live up to their promise that girls and women would be allowed education at primary and higher levels.

At the same time, the foreign minister also urged the United States and its allies to release the frozen money from the former Afghan government. “That’s Afghan money that should be spent on Afghan people,” he added.

He said the top priority of the international community should be averting an economic collapse of Afghanistan.

“On one hand, you’re raising fresh funds to avert a crisis and on the other hand, money that is theirs — belongs to them — they cannot use,” Qureshi told reporters.

“I think freezing the assets is not helping the situation. I would strongly urge the powers that be that they should revisit that policy and think of an unfreeze,” he said.

“It will be a confidence-building measure as well and that could also incentivise positive behavior.”

The United States froze $9.5 billion in Afghan central bank assets and international lenders have stayed clear of Afghanistan, wary of providing money that could be used by the Taliban.

Qureshi is expected to hold bilateral talks with his counterparts from other countries participating in the UNGA summit.

According to a statement issued by the Foreign Office, Prime Minister Imran Khan will address the session via a video link and will outline Pakistan’s perspective on key global and regional issues.