Afghanistan may face an economic collapse if its frozen assets are not released to cope with the burgeoning needs, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Saturday.

He said Pakistan will host a meeting of the foreign ministers of Muslim countries on December 19 to discuss the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan. Qureshi told the media in Lahore that the 17th extraordinary session of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers will be held after 41 years, showing the urgency of the Afghan situation.

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Human tragedy can happen if attention is not paid to the Afghanistan situation, he said, adding that half of Afghanistan’s population can suffer from food shortage. Advocating for the release of assets of Afghanistan, he said that the country could face an economic collapse if the frozen assets were not released to cope with the burgeoning needs.

The US froze assets worth over $9 billion of the Afghan Central Bank after the Taliban insurgents seized power in the war-torn country in mid-August. The Taliban-led Afghanistan government has asked the US to unfreeze the country’s assets and lift the sanctions on its banks, citing the hardships faced by the people ahead of harsh winter.

Highlighting the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, Qureshi said it may trigger a new refugee exodus, and asked the world to understand the current situation in the war-ravaged country. Qureshi said that P5 countries and the European Agency have also been invited to attend the meeting. Earlier, Saudi Arabia summoned the extraordinary meeting of the OIC which is the largest body of Muslim countries. Pakistan had offered to host the meeting in Islamabad.

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