BERLIN: Pakistan's foreign minister called for an easing of Western sanctions against Afghanistan under the Taliban government, saying the basic functioning of the Afghan economy must not be endangered.
The Taliban takeover last year prompted foreign governments, led by the United States, to cut development and security aid, and the strict enforcement of sanctions has debilitated the country's banking sector.
In an interview with Germany's Welt newspaper published on Thursday, foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar said isolating Afghanistan economically was pushing the country into economic collapse.
"If the country remains locked out of international banking and its foreign assets remain frozen, then that is what will happen. We must not promote famine," she added.
Khar said the Western troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, in which Germany was also involved, had serious repercussions because it was not preceded by a negotiated solution, calling on Germany to play an active political role in easing sanctions.
"In the current situation, it is not a good idea to continue to starve Afghanistan and risk an economic implosion in the country," she said, adding that economic support was necessary to help the Afghan people.
"How is it that we spent $3 trillion on the war, but today don't even have $10 billion on Afghan survival? I don't understand this behavior," she added.
(Reporting by Riham Alkousaa; Editing by Sam Holmes)