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Taliban Appeals For Renewed International Help As Afghanistan's Economic Woes Mount

Afghans wait in front of a bank as they try to withdraw money in Kabul.

The unrecognized Taliban government in Afghanistan has appealed to the international community to help counter a worsening economic crisis that threatens to drive more migrants out of the country.

Taliban representative Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, who holds the post of deputy foreign minister, made the appeal at a meeting in Kabul on December 18 to mark the United Nations' International Migrants Day.

The conference was attended by representatives of the International Organization for Migration and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Stanikzai called on the United States, which has blocked billions of dollars of Afghanistan's reserves, to help the country recover from decades of war.

The United Nations has estimated that millions of Afghans could face hunger this winter following the abrupt withdrawal of international aid after the Taliban seized power. Millions are unemployed, and the banking system is unreliable.

The United States has refused to release some $9 billion in Afghan central-bank reserves or to lift sanctions against Taliban leaders.

Taliban de facto Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi met with Red Cross officials on December 18 and assured them that international aid groups were welcome in Afghanistan and would be able to work unhindered.

The Taliban took over the country in mid-August, shortly after the withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan. No country has yet recognized the Islamist Taliban government.

Based on reporting by Reuters