Afghanistan heading for collapse faster than expected, Swedish minister warns – .

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Afghanistan heading for collapse faster than expected, Swedish minister warns – .


Farzana, 30, holds her one-year-old baby, Omar, in the infant malnutrition ward at Indira Gandhi Children’s Hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan on October 23, 2021. REUTERS / Jorge Silva

DUBAI, October 23 (Reuters) – Afghanistan is heading for an economic collapse that threatens to plunge the country into yet another political crisis, Sweden’s Minister for International Development Cooperation warned on Saturday.

Afghanistan was plunged into crisis after the collapse of the Western-backed government and the Taliban seizure of power in August, which resulted in a brutal end of billions of dollars in aid to its aid dependent economy.

“My concern is that the country is on the verge of collapse and that this collapse is happening faster than we thought,” Per Olsson Fridh told Reuters in Dubai, warning that the economic free fall could provide an environment conducive to the prosperity of terrorist groups.

The European Union to 27 countries, including Sweden, has increased humanitarian aid to Afghanistan since the Taliban returned to power, but has suspended development aid, a step taken by many other countries and the World Bank. .

The Red Cross on Friday urged the international community to engage with the Taliban, warning aid groups alone could provide only temporary solutions.

Sweden was considering stepping up efforts through Afghan civil society groups to secure basic services, Fridh said, but other countries needed to be convinced that this was possible without legitimizing the new Taliban leadership.

However, Sweden would not channel development money through the Taliban, he said. The movement has been the subject of international criticism for its failure to enforce certain rights since its return to power, notably by allowing girls to access education.

Most countries have closed their embassies in Kabul, with some moving them to Qatar, the Gulf state which is a key interlocutor between the West and the Taliban.

European countries were not ready to reopen their embassies in Kabul, Fridh said, adding that more diplomatic missions would open in Qatar before returning to Afghanistan.

Reporting by Alexander Cornwell Editing by Ros Russell

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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