(Photo credit: ATN News)
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi spoke with his Afghan counterpart Amir Khan Muttaqi in a phone conversation on 27 June to reaffirm his country’s financial and medical support following the devastating 6.1 magnitude earthquake that struck Afghanistan.
Wang expressed his condolences over the tragedy, and went on to reassure Muttaqi that Beijing stands ready to provide assistance to Afghanistan. He also said he expects the country to stay united in order to overcome the hardships caused by the earthquake.
Wang added that China’s local and central governments, enterprises and social organizations have been able to deliver humanitarian assistance to help the Afghan people.
The first batch of assistance contained blankets and tents, with other supplies being delivered via chartered planes.
Muttaqi thanked the Chinese foreign minister, saying that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan had received a decent amount of medical supplies and food for the earthquake victims.
They also discussed political relations, with Wang saying China’s administration was opposed to US-led sanctions against Kabul, and that the Afghan embassy in Beijing has been playing an integral role in advancing bilateral relations between the two nations.
India also contributed to the Afghan people by dispatching a shipment of 3,000 metric tons of wheat to Afghanistan through Pakistan on 26 June, completing the amount of 33,500 metric tons of wheat to Afghanistan in partnership with the World Food Programme (WFP).
“Pakistan is committed to the supply of relief goods to the Afghan brethren,” an Indian official said.
Despite this, the Indian government has yet to recognize the Taliban government.
With thousands affected by the earthquake in eastern Afghanistan, the United Nations agency warned of a cholera outbreak in the region.
“The people are in extreme need for food and clean water,” Afghanistan’s health ministry spokesperson Sharafat Zaman said.
Zaman also said that Afghanistan needs food and medicine, as disease might spread among survivors due to lack of shelter and housing.
This latest natural disaster puts even further strain on the people of Afghanistan, who have been facing a severe humanitarian crisis caused by western sanctions, as well as a US-led cut in billions of dollars of development aid.
As soon as the Taliban consolidated power in Kabul, defeating the US-trained Afghan army, Washington moved to freeze nearly $10 billion of the country’s foreign reserves.
Joe Biden then ordered that half of those reserves be used to pay the families of the victims of the 11 September 2001 attacks.
Last month, the UN revealed that nearly 20 million Afghans – nearly half of the country’s population – are facing acute levels of hunger in the aftermath of the 20-year military invasion of the country.