Pakistan vows free COVID-19 vaccination for Afghans at border crossings

Prime Minister Imran Khan reiterates call for global efforts to 'avert grave humanitarian crisis' in Afghanistan.

Pakistan vows free COVID-19 vaccination for Afghans at border crossings

Pakistan will provide free COVID-19 vaccines to all Afghans coming into the country, Prime Minister Imran Khan announced on Thursday.

Khan said his government has assured Afghanistan’s acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi that Pakistan “will provide all possible humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.”

“We are sending essential food items, emergency medical supplies & winter shelters to provide immediate relief to Afghan ppl. We will also provide free COVID-19 vaccines to all Afghans travelling across the border into Pak,” he said on Twitter.

He reiterated Islamabad’s call for global efforts to “avert a grave humanitarian crisis” in Afghanistan.

Earlier in the day, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi echoed the same views at a meeting of the Troika Plus group on Afghanistan in Islamabad.

“Today, Afghanistan stands at the brink of an economic collapse as international funding has dried up. It has become difficult to pay even salaries, let alone pursue development projects,” he told special envoys of the US, China and Russia in what was the group’s first meeting since the Taliban seized power in mid-August.

Muttaqi, who arrived on his first visit to Pakistan on Wednesday, also attended the meeting.

Qureshi stressed that the Taliban are interested in engagement with the international community, and urged the world to avoid repeating mistakes of the past and pursue positive engagement.

He also called on the US to release Afghanistan’s frozen assets and said the UN and other humanitarian agencies must find ways to help Afghans in need.

Hüseyin Demir

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