Russia urges West to release Afghan funds to stem migrants

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Moscow (AFP) – The Kremlin has urged Western leaders to unfreeze Afghan assets to fund humanitarian aid and prevent an exodus of migrants to Europe fueled by the Taliban takeover.

The international community does not recognize the die-hard Islamist group, which seized control of Afghanistan in August after the hasty withdrawal of foreign troops from a two-decade deployment.

More than half of Afghanistan’s 38 million people face food shortages, according to the United Nations, with winter forcing millions to choose between migration and starvation.

Zamir Kabulov, the Kremlin’s envoy to Afghanistan, said Russia had warned the West that its stranglehold on assets and remittances could see thousands of Afghan families “running to Europe this winter”.

“The West is afraid of migratory flows,” he told Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

“So let’s unblock the Afghan money. We must do everything possible so that hundreds of thousands of Afghan families do not have to leave the country.”

Washington seized nearly $ 9.5 billion in assets belonging to the Afghan central bank after the Taliban took control of the country and the aid-dependent economy effectively collapsed.

Russia has since raised concerns over the proliferation of terrorist groups in the country, including the Islamic State group, and has warned terrorist groups planning to infiltrate countries neighboring the former Soviet Union. pretending to be refugees.

Kabulov has previously urged Western countries to engage with the Taliban and ask the European Union to reopen its embassy in Afghanistan, warning that the country risks sinking deeper into drug trafficking and terrorism.

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