Oct 24, 2021 13:12 UTC
  • Countries say Afghanistan hurtling toward collapse

A top Swedish official says Stockholm would not channel development aid through the Taliban, even as he warned that Afghanistan is on the brink of an economic "collapse."

“The country is on the brink of collapse and that collapse is coming faster than we thought," Swedish Development Minister Per Olsson Fridh told Reuters on Saturday.

He warned the current economic crisis could provide an environment for terrorist groups to thrive, but that Sweden would not channel money through the Taliban.

The 27-country European Union, which includes Sweden, has increased humanitarian aid to Afghanistan since the Taliban took over in August but has halted its development assistance.

Fridh said Sweden will boost humanitarian contributions through Afghan civil society groups.

Many other countries and multilateral institutions have also halted development assistance to the country, citing reluctance to engage with the new Taliban rulers.

Pakistan, however, said direct engagement with the Taliban was the only way to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in Afghanistan.

Pakistani Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said on Saturday that engagement with the Taliban would encourage the protection of human rights and the establishment of an inclusive, constitutional government. 

He also called for the release of billions of dollars worth of Afghan assets that have been frozen overseas.