Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Thursday his country will provide humanitarian aid worth $280 million to Afghanistan to support the Taliban’s government.
“If they need medicines at hospitals… or whatever else their priorities are, they will tell us and we will be ready to give them humanitarian assistance in-kind,” Qureshi said during his first visit to Afghanistan since the Taliban seized control of the country.
“Right now there is a transition, there are challenges and to overcome that, Pakistan will play whatever role it needs to play,” he added, according to Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper.
Qureshi also said Pakistan will keep its border with Afghanistan open around the clock and will boost trade with its neighbor.
Measures to support the Taliban government will also include Pakistan resuming flights with Kabul, which were suspended this month, in addition to measures to facilitate the movement of Afghans at two key border crossings.
Pakistan has deep historic ties with the Taliban. The country’s spy chief was one of the first foreign officials to visit Kabul in September and a Pakistani senior official said that Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed could help the Taliban reorganize the Afghan military.
The US has long accused Pakistan of supporting the Taliban; a charge Islamabad denies.
The Taliban are struggling to govern an Afghanistan mired with an economic crisis, with prices of food and fuel rising sharply amid a shortage of cash, triggered by a halt in foreign aid and a drought.
The group has been demanding the US unfreeze its assets to ease the economic pressure on the country.
After the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan on August 15, the US froze almost $10 billion in Afghan gold, investments and foreign currency reserves.
Washington plans to use the frozen funds as means to pressure the Taliban to respect women’s rights and to govern the public in a lawful manner.