If Afghan sanctions remain in place, the Taliban have warned the United States and the European Union that they will be flooded with refugees.
The new Taliban leadership in Afghanistan has warned US and European envoys that ongoing sanctions will jeopardize security and could result in a flood of economic refugees.
According to a statement released late Tuesday, acting foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi told Western diplomats at a meeting in Doha that “weakening the Afghan government is not in anyone’s interest because its negative effects will directly affect the world in the security sector and economic migration from the country.”
After a two-decade struggle, the Taliban ousted Afghanistan’s old US-backed government in August and declared an Islamic emirate administered by the movement’s extreme interpretation of religious law.
International sanctions, however, have hampered efforts to stabilize the country, which is still under siege from rival terrorist group Islamic State-Khorasan: banks are running out of cash and civil officials are going unpaid.
“We encourage global countries to eliminate existing sanctions and let banks work properly so that charity groups, organizations, and the government can pay salaries to their staff using their own reserves and international financial support,” Muttaqi said at the Doha meeting, according to his spokesman.
If the Afghan economy falls, European countries are concerned that significant numbers of migrants may flee to Europe, putting pressure on neighboring countries such as Pakistan and Iran, and eventually on EU borders.
Washington and the EU have stated their willingness to fund humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan, but they are skeptical of offering direct support to the Taliban without assurances that it will protect human rights, particularly women’s rights.