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Davos: Urgent need in Afghanistan is saving economy

The Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan nine months ago triggered economic fallout

Afghanistan Taliban rulers on Saturday, May 7, ordered all Afghan women to wear head-to-toe clothing in public, a sharp hard-line pivot that confirmed the worst fears of rights activists | AP

Two high-level speakers at the World Economic Forum gathering say Afghanistan's most urgent need is saving its economy from complete collapse.

Achim Steiner, administrator of the United Nations Development Program, said Monday in Davos that we cannot abandon 40 million Afghans simply on the principle of moral outrage. 

The Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan nine months ago and the hasty US withdrawal of its troops triggered economic fallout. Underpinning that was the Biden administration's decision to freeze around $9.5 billion that the Afghan central bank has in US banks. 

President Joe Biden has signed an order to free $ 7 billion of those frozen assets, but only half are to be released for humanitarian aid to Afghanistan. The other half would go toward Sept. 11 victims.

Some argue that aid to Afghanistan's Taliban-ruled government should be made conditional to ensure the protection of women's rights and access to education.

Pakistan's new Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Hina Rabbani Khar, said her country's government views the Taliban's decisions curbing women's rights as a threat emanating from across its shared border.

But she also asked, in order to appease our conscience how many Afghans need to leave the country? And what about the millions left behind? 

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