Top Pakistani diplomat urges flood aid, patience with Taliban

WASHINGTON (AP) – Pakistan’s foreign minister says the international community should Afghanistan’s ruling TalibanIn fighting foreign extremist groups and the country’s economic and humanitarian crisis, not against it — even though many U.S. officials say the Taliban have proven themselves unworthy of such cooperation.

Pakistan’s top diplomat, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, speaks to The Associated Press in the final days of the UN General Assembly in New York and a trip to Washington more world attention The unprecedented flood submerged a third of his country.

Scientists say climate change has exacerbated the incessant monsoon rains that have killed more than 1,000 people in Pakistan, caused tens of billions of dollars in damage and devastated much of the country. staple food and cash crops.

Pakistan is one of the worst-hit countries climate change They have become increasingly outspoken when it comes to seeking more financial aid from rich countries. The past and current economic and industrial booms of China, the United States and other major economies are the largest contributors to climate change, which is largely caused by the burning of fossil fuels.

According to reports, some 30 million people in Pakistan have been displaced by the floods, “really paying the price for other countries’ industrialization in the form of their lives and livelihoods,” Zardari said.

“Justice will be our global effort” and “we will not be alone in dealing with the consequences of this tragedy,” he said.

Zardari is the son of a former Pakistani prime minister and former president. He became foreign minister in April.

On Monday, he met with Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.Biden administration announced on the same day another $10 million in food aid for Pakistan, In addition to more than $56 million in flood relief and humanitarian assistance this year.

More broadly, however, the Biden administration and governments of other major economies have provided only a fraction of the $100 billion in annual aid they have pledged to help less wealthy nations weather droughts, sea levels Rise and other climate change disasters, as well as switching to cleaner energy yourself.

“We expect the U.S. to be one of the major players,” said Zardari, who also spoke approvingly of a nascent UN proposal in which developed countries could cancel existing debt as a form of climate aid .

“In terms of overall climate aid, we haven’t seen – which doesn’t mean we won’t see – translate this vision into practice on the ground,” he said.

Zardari, who spoke to The Associated Press at the Pakistani embassy on Tuesday, also made some controversial suggestions that the United States should work more directly with the Taliban in Afghanistan.Pakistan and U.S. are cracking down on hiding in Afghanistan for decades. The United States has long been at odds with many Pakistani officials over sympathetic handling of and support for the Taliban.

No country recognizes the Taliban, an organization sanctioned as a terrorist organization, returned to power through military force in August 2021 as the legitimate government of Afghanistan. The United States and the entire international community are seeking to dispose of billions of dollars in frozen Afghan central bank funds, implement financial reforms and provide much-needed aid to ordinary Afghans with minimal Taliban involvement.

“At the risk of hurting anyone’s feelings, I think it’s important to mention these funds, not the Taliban funds, or the American funds. These funds belong to the Afghan people,” Zardari said.

Since the Taliban took over, economic isolation and poverty such as those in Afghanistan have only fueled authoritarianism and extremism, he said. The best financial outcomes will be achieved through existing institutions (now controlled by the Taliban), not through “some kind of parallel government”.

Asked if he meant the United States needed to hold its nose and deal with the ruling power in Afghanistan, Zardari said, “Almost.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. found that Ayman al-Zawahiri, the global leader of al-Qaeda, has taken refuge in the heart of the Afghan capital since the Taliban returned to power, leading U.S. leaders to condemn alleged collusion among Taliban officials. The United States killed Zawahiri in a drone strike in July.

Zardari said the Taliban have not yet had the time and ability to fight extremist groups as the government should. “In order for them to show a willingness to fight terrorist groups, we need to help them build the ability to do the same,” he said, before judging them.

Source link