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EU announces 1-bn Euro aid package for Afghanistan

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday ordered immediate shipment of in-kind humanitarian assistance worth Rs5 billion for Afghanistan including 50,000 MT of wheat, emergency medical supplies, winter shelters and other supplies.

Instructing all ministries to facilitate Afghans to the maximum, he also gave an in-principle approval for tariff and sales tax reduction on key Afghan exports to Pakistan.

The prime minister issued these order during his visit to the newly established Afghanistan Inter-Ministerial Coordination Cell (AICC) here where he chaired the first Apex Committee meeting of AICC.
The meeting was attended by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Advisor on Finance Shaukat Tarin, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, National Security Adviser Dr Moeed Yousaf and senior civil and military officers.

Read More: PM for deepening Pakistan-US engagement to promote stability in Afghanistan

The premier further ordered that the facility of free Covid vaccination for all Afghans entering Pakistan from land borders.

He also announced Pakistan’s decision to allow the 50,000 MT of wheat India has offered to provide Afghanistan as humanitarian assistance to go through Pakistan as soon as modalities are finalised with the Indian side.

“Pakistan will also facilitate the return of Afghan patients who had gone to India for medical treatment and were stuck there,” he underscored.

Welcoming Prime Minister Imran Khan’s initiative, National Security Adviser Dr Moeed Yusuf made a detailed presentation to brief the civil and military leadership on the current economic situation in Afghanistan and the progress made by AICC in coordinating national efforts for humanitarian assistance and border facilitation for Afghans.

The premier also appreciated the work of AICC in coordinating Pakistan’s policy and expressed satisfaction at the improved border-management protocols.

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He ordered that capacity of border staff be further enhanced and instructed that no arbitrary closures of borders for trade should be allowed.

Imran also ordered that bus service between Peshawar and Jalalabad be revived to facilitate travelers on both sides.

To further facilitate Afghans, the visa duration will be relaxed in such a way that visas are granted within three weeks at the most.

Participants expressed concerns about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan and emphasised that Pakistan will not abandon Afghans in their time of need.

The premier also reminded the international community of the collective responsibility to support Afghanistan to avoid a humanitarian crisis.

“The Afghans are one of the bravest nations who can meet any adversity but that the world owed its support to ensure that they can live in a peaceful and stable environment after years of constant conflict,” he added.

A senior delegation of Afghan health officials will visit Islamabad later this week to work out modalities for Pakistan’s support to Afghanistan’s health sector.

Mooed Yusuf is also likely to visit Afghanistan and hold delegation-level talks and agree on specific areas where immediate capacity building support shall be provided to Afghans.

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