China to Donate Vaccines, Medical Aid To Afghanistan; Stresses Need for Regional Cooperation and Coordination—
Sept. 9, 2021 (EIRNS)–Yesterday’s mini-summit among China, Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan, called to discuss how to address the challenges posed by the Afghan situation, announced a humanitarian aid package of $31 million, including food, water, three million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, and other medical supplies. The meeting was chaired by Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who had just completed a tour of Afghanistan’s neighbors 10 days earlier. The three million COVID vaccine doses reportedly represent only a first batch, with more to come. Xinhua reports that State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi announced that China is prepared to offer more anti-epidemic and emergency materials to Afghanistan under the China-South Asian Countries Emergency Supplies Reserve.
Today, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian offered more details on yesterday’s meeting, stressing that it is the first attempt by Afghanistan’s neighbors “to work closely in response to the evolving situation in the country,” and to specifically establish “a coordination and cooperation mechanism.” He explained that this mechanism should be able to work smoothly with other existing multilateral mechanisms on Afghanistan “and can complement each other and form synergy. All participating parties support the continued operation of this unique mechanism so that countries can share policy propositions, coordinate positions, and jointly address challenges through this platform. The hope to host the second conference has already been expressed,” he reported.