KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is planning to help the Afghan people under the Taliban interim government in two stages, first in extending humanitarian aid and second in engaging with businessmen and professionals to assist in the mid-term reconstruction of the warn-torn country.

Malaysian Foreign Minister’s Special Adviser on Afghan affairs Datuk Ahmad Azam Ab Rahman said the priority now is to establish the Malaysian Humanitarian Centre and begin its operations.

The centre will gather all Malaysian humanitarian non-governmental organisations and become a one-stop centre in assisting Afghans seeking humanitarian assistance in the form of food, shelter and medical needs.

“Besides basic needs like food, shelter and medicine, we are also encouraging professionals like experienced bankers and financial advisors and businessmen from Malaysia to revive the economy in Afghanistan,” he told Bernama after attending the Afghan community Meet and Greet Session with Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah at International Islamic University Malaysia here Thursday (Dec 16) night.

Malaysia was yet to make its official stand on the Taliban government and was taking a cautious approach on the new regime in Afghanistan.

The Taliban captured Kabul on Aug 15 and seized control of Afghanistan for the first time in 20 years, after the United States (US) military retreated from the country.

Afghan president Mohammad Ashraf Ghani also left the country when the Taliban advanced to the capital city.

Ahmad Azam, who was the Commissioner to the Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), also hoped that the 17th Extraordinary Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) of the OIC on Saturday in Islamabad, Pakistan would make a pledge to seek more funds for the humanitarian assistance for Afghan people.

Meanwhile, Saifuddin in his dialogue session with the Afghan community expressed Malaysia’s readiness to understand more on the interim Taliban government while making sure the country did not fall into the western narrative who had their own reasons of what was happening in the country.

He said the priority of the Malaysian government now was to ensure on how humanitarian assistance can be rendered, adding that the peace process in Afghanistan should be centred on its stakeholders and people, based on an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled peace and reconciliation processes.

On his expectation of the 17th Extraordinary Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) of the OIC, the minister who would be representing Malaysia said he hoped the international organisation would make a statement on the issue of US freezing more than US$9bil of Afghan assets after the Taliban seized control in August. – Bernama

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