The Gulf state has repeatedly called for the need to not isolate Afghanistan as its population suffers from a worsening humanitarian crisis.
Qatar and Indonesia have agreed to provide humanitarian and development assistance to the Afghan population through a ‘Letter of Intent’, signed between the two countries on Saturday.
The Gulf state’s news agency (QNA) said that the agreement was signed between Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani and his Indonesian counterpart Retno Lestari Priansari Marsudi on the sidelines of 20th edition of the Doha Forum.
Under the ‘Letter of Intent’ the two countries are joining their efforts in establishing a mechanism that supports the people of Afghanistan. The Afghan population has been suffering under a worsening humanitarian situation following decades of war and drought.
The agreement also aims to empower the role of Afghan women through dialogues that focus on the importance of their role in the country. Afghan women have also been living under restrictions. On March 23, the Taliban announced girls above sixth grade will not allowed to go back to school.
More recently, Reuters reported that the Taliban-led acting Afghan government has banned women from flying without a male guardian.
Qatar and Indonesia would be able to provide scholarships and vocational training programmes for Afghans in a number of sectors.
Since the Taliban militarily seized power in August last year, Qatar has called on the international community to not isolate Afghanistan, stressing the need to address its humanitarian crisis.
Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani told a G20 meeting in October that the international community bears a responsibility to support Afghanistan. Sheikh Tamim had called for dialogue rather than isolation.
Whilst no country has recognised Afghanistan’s interim administration, the international community have been engaging with Afghan officials in a bid to alleviate the suffering of the country’s population.
The UN says that 24.4 million people in Afghanistan, half of its population, are in dire need of humanitarian support. Children have also been unable to attend school due to the economic situation.
Germany and the UK are set to host a joint high-level pledging event on Afghanistan on 31 March, which Qatar is going to be participating in.
On 1 March, the World Bank has approved the request of Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) donors and the international community in releasing one billion dollars in frozen funds.
“This follows the transfer-out of $280 million in ARTF funds on December 15, 2021—$100 million to UNICEF and $180 million to the World Food Programme (WFP)—to support the humanitarian response over the critical winter months,” said the World Bank.
Us President Joe Biden had ordered the release of $7 billion in Afghan funds in February, which Washington froze following the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul last year. Half of the amount has been designated to the Afghan population as the remaining $3.5 billion were allocated for victims of the 9/11 attack.
The decision to split the money has met with criticism by Afghans and activists, who said that the US was “punishing” Afghanistan’s population. The US invasion of the country in 2001 has left behind over 70,000 civilian casualties and destroyed the country’s infrastructure.