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Sweden worries Afghanistan’s economic collapse coming faster than expected


Sweden is worried Afghanistan could be spiralling into an economic collapse at a faster-than-expected rate

Sweden worries Afghanistan’s economic collapse coming faster than expected
Sweden has expressed worry that Afghanistan is heading towards an economic collapse which could see the country spiral into a new political crisis.
Following the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban in August from a government-backed by the West, billions of dollars in aid to the country has been stopped. That has pushed Afghanistan into a crisis.
"My concern is that the country is on the brink of collapse and that collapse is coming faster than we thought," Sweden's minister for international development cooperation Per Olsson Fridh, told Reuters in Dubai, warning that an economic freefall could provide an environment for terror groups to thrive.
The European Union, which includes Sweden, has increased humanitarian aid to Afghanistan since the return of the Taliban to power. However, like many other countries and the World Bank, the 27-nation bloc has halted its development assistance.
Sweden was looking into scaling up efforts through Afghan civil society groups to secure basic services, Fridh said. Other countries needed to be convinced this was possible to do without legitimising the new Taliban rulers, he added. One thing is sure — Sweden would not channel development money through the Taliban, he said.
Meanwhile, the Red Cross on Friday urged the international community to engage with the Taliban, warning that aid groups on their own could only provide temporary solutions.
Following the return of the Taliban, most countries have shuttered their embassies in Kabul. Some have relocated their embassies to Qatar, the Gulf state which is a key interlocutor between the West and the Taliban.
European countries were not ready to reopen their Kabul embassies, Fridh said, adding that more diplomatic missions would open in Qatar before there is a return to Afghanistan.
(With inputs from agencies)
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