Today in Islamabad, representatives of most of the 57 member nations of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation were gathered for the pre-meeting to the extraordinary meeting of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers on the Humanitarian Situation in Afghanistan, which will be held tomorrow. In a statement to today’s opening session of senior officials, the OIC Assistant Secretary General of Humanitarian Affairs, Ambassador Tarig Ali Bakhit Salah, stressed, as reported on the OIC website, “that after decades of war, suffering and insecurity, the people of Afghanistan need relief and peace. ‘It is crucial for the international community to take swift action to ensure that the people of Afghanistan have unimpeded access to life-saving assistance, and that humanitarian support is scaled up. The OIC humanitarian office in Kabul will assume its responsibility in coordination with the various international agencies in delivering the required assistance to the millions of people in need,’ said Ambassador Tarig.”
The registered participants at this weekend’s sessions number 437, and many non-OIC delegations are present, including guest nations, UN and other international agencies. The Afghanistan Taliban government delegation arrived today from Kabul, headed by Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi. He met today with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.
On Dec. 17, the opening day of the OIC events, David Beasley, Executive Director of the World Food Program, gave a stern interview to the U.S. National Public Radio, describing the Afghanistan situation. Speaking from the WFP headquarters in Rome, he said, “I was just in Kabul … out of 42 million people, 23 million are marching towards starvation. I mean, they’re in serious trouble … 95% don’t have enough food to eat. [Out of the 23 million] about 9 million are on famine’s door as we speak. It is Hell on Earth. And now the winter months are here.” He spoke of mothers "having to choose, ‘if I have any money at all, do I buy cooking fuel or heating fuel? Do I freeze my child to death, or do I starve my child to death?’ That’s what they’re facing now….
“What we’re looking at now is a 40% loss of wheat production because of droughts and then COVID economic deterioration. Then on top of all that is the lack of [financial] liquidity because the international community has frozen all the assets that the country normally would have….”
The situation within Afghanistan cries out for concerted action, and the scope of what needs to be done—not only here, but throughout Central and Southwestern Asia, has been presented by Schiller Institute, in four different guest TV appearances on Pakistan national television PTV, in its gavel-to-gavel coverage of the OIC events over the past 24 hours. Yesterday, Schiller Institute President Helga Zepp-LaRouche powerfully reiterated her call for Operation Ibn Sina in Afghanistan, named after the great Islamic thinker and physician. Also yesterday, Hussein Askary, Southwest Asia Coordinator for the Schiller Institute presented what stretching the Belt and Road Initiative throughout the region will mean.
Today, Harley Schlanger, speaking from Germany for the Schiller Institute, spoke on a PTV panel, which opened with a short documentary on Afghanistan, including the report from David Beasley. Schlanger commended Pakistan for its leading role to organize relief action, and the OIC for its efforts, then he called for three steps: 1) unfreezing the Afghanistan government funds; 2) mobilizing emergency aid; and 3) launching a long-term commitment for full economic development. He pointed out that, after spending trillions of dollars for a war, which caused this crisis, the U.S. and Europe must make a major effort to provide food and medical supplies, using the logistical capacity of the war machine to airlift necessary material.
Karel Vereycken, speaking from Paris, with the Solidarity & Progress Party, participated in PTV’s next segment, this one an hour-long panel discussion. He drew attention to the potential significance of the meeting of the “Extended Troika”—the United States, Russia, China and Pakistan—to take place on Dec. 20, following the Dec. 19 OIC meeting.
The Schiller Institute is collaborating with individuals and efforts internationally for the needed action in Afghanistan, and for a decisive end to foreign relations based on the neo-British Empire model of perpetual confrontation, and economic subjugation, now pushed in the name “climate emergency,” “rules-based order,” and “democracy.” There are videos in preparation for mass social media use, and other initiatives in rush preparation.
Today, an EIR interview with Dr. Shah Mohammad Mehrabi, on the governing board of the Central Bank of Afghanistan (Da Afghanistan Bank), was posted in video and text, in which he addresses in depth what is needed for economic functioning in Afghanistan. The interview is titled, “U.S. Policy Is ‘Suffocating the Afghan People.’” (It will appear in EIR’s issue dated Dec. 24, 2021).
In Washington, D.C. this coming week, a group of Congressmen is planning to announce their initiative for the U.S. to unfreeze the $9.5 billion of Afghanistan government funds, wrongfully withheld by the U.S. Federal Reserve and Treasury, on U.S. orders.
It is also of note, that the Committee for the Coincidence of Opposites, co-founded by Helga Zepp-LaRouche, and former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders, in late summer/fall of 2020, has issued a press release this weekend, on its 2021 aid initiative to Mozambique, in the spirit of demanding collaboration among the major powers, for both emergency action to save lives, and for full-scale development everywhere, beginning with modern health care systems.