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The OIC Commits to Coordinated Aid To Afghanistan; Now for World Action—Our ‘Historical Mission’

Dec. 19 (EIRNS)–On Sunday, the Council of Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) met in extraordinary session in Pakistan, and agreed upon resolutions for coordinated humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, and measures for economic functioning. Follow-up mechanisms were specified to implement the decisions of the OIC. Attending the meeting were 70 delegates, representing member countries, guest nations, international financial and UN aid agencies. The OIC, with 57 member nations, is the largest such world body after the United Nations. But even so, what determines what will happen for the Afghanistan people and nation, the greater region, and world situation, requires a shift in approach to abandon deadly geopolitics, and launch concerted positive action among major powers.

This was stressed on Friday, the opening day of the three-day OIC meetings in Islamabad, by Schiller Institute President Helga Zepp-LaRouche, appearing in a discussion on Pakistan’s national television PTV, which covered the OIC proceedings intensively. She said, “In a certain sense, to get all the forces internationally together to help Afghanistan is, in my view, one of the absolute, important historical missions. In a certain, I think the whole destiny of mankind is in a laser, concentrated on what happens in Afghanistan. So, I would really hope that all the participating and affected countries would double and multiply their efforts to make saving Afghanistan an issue of the whole world, because right now it is. And I think all channels must be used: media, United Nations, conferences. There must be a drumbeat, a drumbeat of awakening the conscience of the world, because I think this is sort of a judgment of our ability as a human species: Are we morally fit to survive or not?”

What is happening this evening is that pledges are starting from OIC nations, on what donations they will commit, for purposes of urgent relief operations. From preliminary reports, the framework that is to administer ongoing aid includes several features. A resolution was adopted unanimously that the OIC will set up a Humanitarian Trust Fund and a Food Security Program. The OIC meeting requested that the existing Islamic Organization for Food Security (IOFS) work with this new Food Security Program for Afghanistan, including using IOFS reserves, when warranted. The Humanitarian Trust Fund is to come into operation during the First Quarter of 2022, under the auspices of the Islamic Development Bank.

In Kabul, the existing OIC Mission is to be reinforced with more logistical, financial and staff resources to enable it to coordinate operations with global agencies and partnerships. These include the obvious UN agencies, from UNICEF, to the World Food Program, and other organizations. A priority will be working with the World Health Organization for vaccines and medical supplies.

There will be support for the Afghan refugees who have fled to neighboring countries, and for the internally displaced within Afghanistan. An estimated 665,000 people have been displaced just between January and September 2021, over and above the 2.9 million already dislocated within their nation. In brief, 60% of the population of 38 million people face crisis levels of hunger, and lack of necessities for life.

The conference welcomed the offer by Uzbekistan to create, with UN efforts, a regional logistics hub in Termez city, to handle the shipment of humanitarian material into Afghanistan. The OIC meeting approved the designation of Ambassador Tarig Ali Bakhit Salah, Assistant Secretary General for Humanitarian, Cultural and Family Affairs at the OIC Secretariat, to be OIC Special Envoy to Afghanistan for the OIC Secretary General, to coordinate efforts, and provide reports to the OIC. The Humanitarian Trust Fund is to be up and running within the first quarter of 2022.

It is reported by APP (AP Pakistan,) that there was an urgent appeal made for large-scale projects in the multi-nation region, to serve reconstruction and development. In general, this should include energy, transportation and communication projects. Two mentioned were the TAPI Pipeline, and the TAP (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan) electricity transmission line. Participants in the deliberation drew attention to the importance of the 15th Summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization, which met on Nov. 28, 2021, in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.

The second area of OIC action, alongside the humanitarian, food-aid and anti-pandemic work, concerns creating the banking, credit and related conditions to serve a re-established functioning economy, and for reconstruction. The Council of Foreign Ministers decided, according to the report by APP, that exploratory talks “to unlock the financial and banking channels to resume liquidity and flow of financial and humanitarian assistance” should commence under the direction of the OIC General Secretariat, and the Islamic Development Bank. APP added that, participants discussed “exploring realistic pathways towards unfreezing Afghanistan’s financial assets.”

Here is where the outright clash comes in with the networks in London, Washington D.C., and co-conspirators, which insist on wrongfully withholding $9.5 billion in Afghanistan state assets, sorely needed for government and economic functions. An especially ugly, duplicitous public relations campaign is going on in the United States, where two open statements were issued this past week, crying crocodile tears, asserting that some of the $9.5 billion should be unfrozen, and used to “directly help the Afghan people,” but only if allocated directly through non-Kabul government, non-Taliban, UN or other agencies. One letter was from former military figures, in connection with the infamous Atlantic Council, and the other letter was from a group of 39 Congressmen, either ignorant, gullible, corrupt, or all three.

No nation exists without functioning institutions. There is no independence without economic sovereignty. Withholding the funds, or arrogating decision-making over their use means destroying a nation. This will do the job by genocide, that 20 years of military presence and non-development didn’t do in Afghanistan. This is a moral test for the West.

What needs to be done with the funds, and in general in Afghanistan is presented in the newly-released EIR interview with Dr. Shah Mehrabi, for 20 years on the Board of Governors of the Da Afghanistan Bank, the central bank of Afghanistan.

Our role is indispensable in getting out such policy interventions, along with getting out the truth on the scale of the emergency in Afghanistan, which is being blacked out severely in the Trans-Atlantic media. The Zepp-LaRouche call for Operation Ibn Sina to bring a modern healthcare platform to the country is a call for world action. Shining the light on Afghanistan and mobilizing for what must be done, spreads understanding of the necessity to end the grip of the imperialist foreign policy and globalist financial system everywhere, now in breakdown, and threatening nuclear war.

Helga Zepp-LaRouche ended her remarks on PTV Dec. 17 by summarizing, “So in one sense, I think the fate of Afghanistan and the fate of humanity are much more closely connected than most people can imagine.”


Pakistan TV Special Broadcast on OIC Extraordinary Meeting On Afghanistan Gets Briefing From Helga Zepp-LaRouche, Hussein Askary

Dec. 17 (EIRNS)—What follows are the exchanges with Helga Zepp-LaRouche and Hussein Askary on Pakistan’s PTV panel discussion on the Organization of Islamic Countries’ Extraordinary Meeting on Afghanistan. PTV’s host was Faisal Rehman. The two-part broadcast included in-studio guests, former Ambassador Naila Chuhan, and defense analyst Lt. Gen. Talat Masood (ret.), with Schiller Institute founder Helga Zepp-LaRouche online from Germany; and in the second part, defense analyst Lt. Gen. Raza Muhammad Khan (ret.) and former Ambassador Naghmana Hashmi in studio, with Schiller Institute analyst Hussein Askary online from Sweden. Although time did not allow for transcribing the other guests, their remarks reflected important thinking, including our influence and is worth watching at this link

FAISAL REHMAN: Assalamualaikum, you’re watching PTV World, and I’m Faisal Rehman with a special cast mission on this very important OIC conference that has been held in Islamabad. And as we all know, the main reason is about the Afghan crisis. This is in fact the largest gathering after the Aug. 15, when the Taliban took over the regime in Afghanistan. As we all know, winter has approached, there are a lot of crisis, whether we talk about the economic upset that is there, or we talk about the banking collapse; there is lack of flow of money, so the government in Afghanistan currently can’t even pay the salaries of the government employees. And having said that, the crisis is so huge, that it is believed that 60% of the total population of Afghanistan is at the verge of almost starvation. There is no medical facilities as such, and the people are really depending on the neighboring countries, such as Pakistan, and Iran, perhaps; and on the northern side, the Central Asian countries as well.

But having said that, now the issue is so huge that Pakistan in fact took the initiative and called the OIC members to attend this very important summit, so that this particular issue could be taken care of.

And we all know the Western world isn’t supporting as such—the Americans, they have frozen their $9.5 billion U.S. dollars and that was much needed for the revival of their economy. And so the case is, from a lot of European countries as well, in fact, initially, they planned for help, but nothing has arrived so far.

As we will be running this transmission for the next three days, till Sunday, so this is the beginning in fact, and let us show you a report that our production team has prepared, and then I’ll introduce you to our panelists.

NARRATOR: A deepening humanitarian quandary of Afghanistan reflects the flawed approach of international community towards Afghanistan, with tragic consequences. The crumbling healthcare system, economic meltdown of aid-dependent economy, pandemic, food insecurity, access abated by drought, and harsh winter all combine to create a perfect storm for killing more Afghans than bullets. Raising further alarm, the UN envoy for Afghanistan Deborah Lyons said an estimated 60% of Afghanistan’s 38 million people are facing crisis levels of hunger in a food emergency that will likely worsen over the winter.

DEBORAH LYONS: “Now is not the time to turn away from the Afghan people. We must find ways to prevent an imminent humanitarian catastrophe and the terrible loss of life, that could happen over the winter.”

NARRATOR: According to UNICEF around 3.2 million Afghan children are acutely malnourished and 1.4 million children are at risk of dying because of severe acute malnutrition, unless we intervene with treatment. Explaining the country’s worst humanitarian disaster, Abdallah Al Dardari, the resident representative of the UNDP in Afghanistan, some 23 million people are in desperate need of food. The $20 billion economy could shrink by $4 billion or more, and 97% of the 38 million population are at risk of sinking into poverty.

As an emphatic gesture, Pakistan has announced $28 million medical, food, and other humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan, while also authorizing the transport of food aid from India through Pakistan to Afghanistan.

The ensuing catastrophe is preventable as releasing the frozen funds, the Afghan Central Bank’s $9 billion reserves, most of which are held in the U.S. would alleviate the current humanitarian crisis. UNICEF official Samantha Markle noted that “This is no time for political brinksmanship. People in Afghanistan are dying and they need our support. Humanitarian aid is the last expression of human solidarity.” [end video]

REHMAN: And now to talk about it, let me introduce you to our panelists. We have with us in our studio, on my right is Ma’am Naila Chuhan. She is a former ambassador, senior diplomat. Thank you so much for your time. And we also have Lt. Gen. Talat Masood (ret.), who is a senior analyst—thank you also for your time. And on Skype we have with us from Germany, Helga Zepp-LaRouche, the founder of Schiller Institute: Thank you so much, Helga Zepp for your time as well. A pleasure to have you on the show….

I still remember, when as a kid, when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, and there were a lot of people who migrated to Pakistan. And at the Eid time, I remember, during that time period, a lot of planes used to come from Saudi Arabia and they would bring in meat for these people. So these is what we have seen during those crises, but currently it’s worse right now, but nothing is being done.

But let’s see what Miss Helga Zepp has to share with us. Ma’am, looking at the current Afghan crisis and the summit that Pakistan is having in Islamabad, now your take: what sort of hope do you have about the Afghan people, that, yes, there is going to be some sort of help in terms of cash and kind, both.

HELGA ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Well, first of all, I think it’s extremely important what Pakistan is doing right now, by hosting this summit—by Pakistan taking the leadership in a situation where the West has morally completely failed. I mean, this is a moral bankruptcy declaration, because, this is not a crisis which was not foreseeable, because, one week after the withdrawal of the U.S. and NATO troops from Afghanistan was clear, that the country was in a complete shambles. And now, almost four months have passed since, and it is clear that more than 90% of the people are in danger of dying of hunger, of the cold in the freezing winter, and this has been known in the West for several months. But in the news, Afghanistan has completely disappeared from the Western media.

So I think this conference is a real chance to show who is the moral superior factor in the situation. And I’m so ashamed that the West is not capable of freeing—the money which is being withheld by the U.S. Treasury and the European banks, this money belongs to the Afghan people, and we are in a campaign with the Schiller Institute, both in the United States and in Western Europe to demand that these monies be unfrozen right away.

But I actually would like to mention something which is a little bit more hopeful element: I have called for an Operation Ibn Sina. Ibn Sina was probably the most famous doctor in the history of mankind, the most famous physician. He lived about one thousand years ago. And right now, to build a modern health system in Afghanistan, that would be the beginning of overcoming not only the humanitarian crisis, but also starting a real economic development and to give that the name of Ibn Sina, it would bring forward—and I would actually hope that OIC countries, being the Islamic countries of the would, that they would adopt Operation Ibn Sina. If they all would work together—Ibn Sina, the synonym for not only saving the Afghan people right now, in this incredible humanitarian crisis, but all working together to build up economically this country which has a very proud history. The whole region was once known as the Land of a Thousand Cities. Ibn Sina is not just a physician, but he was one of the great universal thinkers, who contributed a lot to philosophy and many areas of knowledge.

So, I think this is a moment where history can change in a positive way. I think the West has failed and now hopefully the Islamic countries, together with the neighboring countries of Afghanistan can step in. I mean, it’s unbelievable what is happening: that the world would know of such a humanitarian tragedy and not act, I think this is a point where people have to really think about what does that mean about the moral condition of the world? I think Operation Ibn Sina could be a tremendous change in the situation.

REHMAN: Now, a very interesting point, and let me take this debate to the lady in Germany: Mrs. Helga, now a couple of important points. One is when Mr. Hamid Karzai was gotten, nobody knew him. And he was there for two terms, because he was the blue-eyed boy of the Americans, certainly, when he made certain remarks, and he was pretty open. Then there was this, I would say, change, as far as the leadership was concerned, and two terms were given to Mr. Ashraf Ghani, who ended up running away, leaving the Afghan people. And interesting part is in every election, if was believed that they were rigged and they were so close that initially Abdullah Abdullah was made the Foreign Minister, and later on, again, since he was also running for President, he said, well, I’m the President; and he ended up becoming the CEO, and again then in the second term, he was again given another responsibility. Now the point is, if that is acceptable to the Americans, that Mr. John Kerry flies all the way from U.S.A., comes here, creates a new appointment, and settles down things—if that is acceptable, Ma’am, why is the Taliban regime not acceptable to the Americans? Is it because they’re ashamed of their loss in Afghanistan? Or perhaps, they never expected Taliban to take charge so quickly, within days, in fact?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Well, obviously, it is a shameful experience. I mean, the United States military is the strongest military on the planet, and combined with NATO, there is simply no other military force stronger—and to be defeated by essentially 65,000 Taliban fighters, is not exactly a heroic experience. I think some of the military who were involved are still licking their wounds, and they have a hard time to digest the fact that they really suffered an incredible defeat.

But that doesn’t take away the responsibility—I mean, in the history of military affairs, if you defeat an enemy, you have a certain responsibility for what happens. In the same way, even if you lose, the fact that the West, NATO and the United States, and the German Bundeswehr and many others, were for 20 years fighting in Afghanistan gives them a moral responsibility to deal with the people. And what is happening now, by sanctioning Afghanistan, by withholding the funds, they’re punishing the Afghan people! The Taliban in a certain sense, the argument that the Taliban are not respecting women’s rights, that may be true, but if you starve more than 90% of the population, you are doing much worse to the women. And the pictures of the dying children and dying babies, I would really like that these pictures should haunt the people who are withholding the help! There is no—this is bordering genocide! Because the effects are all known: Withholding the money right now, it’s the biggest crime I can imagine! So I think we have to really arouse the world public much more, because what you do, by doing this, you force the Taliban practically to go back to the drug production and the drug trade. The Taliban do not want to have drug production, it goes against their religious beliefs.

And in 2000, the UN [drug and crime] representative Pino Arlacchi was negotiating with the Taliban, and they gave up the drug production. The explosion of the drugs occurred after NATO came into the country, and now, by withholding the funds, you are forcing the Taliban to get money from somewhere. So this will have an incredible amount of deaths within Europe, in Russia, China, where the drugs will find their way to go.

It also means, if you say you have to have an opposition to the Taliban, well, you’re encouraging terrorism. I mean the refugee crisis. If this is not remedied very quickly, you will have millions of people trying to escape hunger and disease and the cold, and you will have a tremendous refugee crisis which will burden the neighboring countries. But these refugees who then try to get to Turkey or to Europe—there is just no explanation for what is happening right now which would have any rationale and justification.

I think hopefully this conference taking place in Islamabad right now, also would find an appeal to the rest of the world, to open their eyes. Because what’s at stake, these are the kinds of branching points, where you either go in the direction of becoming more human or becoming more barbarian. And right now, the West has clearly decided on the latter. And I think that has to be remedied.

REHMAN: According to our foreign minister, the Afghan interim foreign minister is also going to attend this conference, along with the Chinese delegation and the Russian, as well as the American. Now, since the American presence will be there, ma’am, do you think that the OIC members, if they agree—let’s suppose if they agree that countries like Saudi Arabia can provide fuel for a certain time, let’s say, for a year on deferred payments or something of that sort; a few countries, like Russia can provide wheat, because the wheat consumption is a lot in Afghanistan, so is the case with rice. Certain countries, Pakistan might, let’s suppose end up agreeing that the Indians can bring in food supplies via Pakistan to Afghanistan, there are these decisions—because this is also going to be some sort of a negotiation, that if India wants to help, we will let them help. But there has to be some sort of condition then; this is the way it should be. Because there is a lot trust deficit also.

Similarly, when we talk about this important point, that we’re not saying let’s accept the regime, but at least talk to them! Do you think this is the basic point from where we can start the negotiation?

Since our foreign minister was also throwing light on this very important aspect of humanitarian crisis, and he said, we will try our level best to sort this issue out, and he also said he had a meeting with the Secretary General of the OIC which was very productive.

Now, one quick comment: as far as the media is concerned, because you were saying there is no news about Afghanistan in the Western media, in Europe, is this story regarding this particular moot, where the OIC members are meeting in Islamabad, is that also a story in your television channels, or in the papers, or on the net?

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: No. The coverage of Afghanistan has practically disappeared. There was a big upset in the immediate aftermath, after the troops went out, and for three or four weeks it was the issue, but in the three months, in Italy, in France, in Germany, you don’t find any coverage at all. I think if one follows the media from the region, a lot of very promising signs—for example, I thought the fact that India and Pakistan agreed to use the Pakistan route to transport food from India this was a very important step, and I know for India what happens in Afghanistan is also extremely important. So one could only wish that the regional cooperation is overcoming older geopolitical conflicts. Also naturally the meetings which took place in the Central Asian Republics involving Russia and China. But I think the question of the Extended Troika should also be pushed because I think the involvement of the United States in a constructive effort, that in my view is the breaking issue, because if the United States could be convinced to take a positive attitude it would be an extremely important stepping stone for an otherwise extremely dangerous geopolitical confrontation between the United States, and Russia and China.

So in a certain sense, to get all the forces internationally together to help Afghanistan is in my view one of the absolute, important historical missions. In a certain sense, I think the whole destiny of mankind is in a laser, concentrated on what happens in Afghanistan. So I would really hope that all the participating and affected countries would double and multiply their efforts to make saving Afghanistan an issue of the whole world, because right now it is now. And I think all channels must be used: media, United Nations, conferences: there must be a drumbeat, a drumbeat of awakening the conscience of the world, because I think this is sort of a judgment of our ability as a human species: Are we morally fit to survive or not?

So in one sense, I think the fate of Afghanistan and the fate of humanity are much more closely connected than most people can imagine.

REHMAN: Very well said, Ma’am. Very well said. And I hope, in fact, to close this segment of our transmission on this note. And Ma’am, when we talk about U.S. President Joe Biden, he thinks he is the champion of humanitarian crisis, he always talks about the issues all over the world, doesn’t speak much about Kashmir or Palestine, for that matter. Neither have we heard much from him regarding Afghanistan. I think this is the high time that all human beings are created equal, so I think this is something really important, and the Americans should take a lead, if they consider themselves as the globe leaders or the masters in that matter, they should definitely come up and come up with some sort of solution, proper remedy for this issue. Mrs. Zepp-LaRouche, thank you so much for your presence and it was a pleasure having you.

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: Thank you….

REHMAN: Welcome back to our transmission. We are talking about this very important OIC moot that is being held in Islamabad, to make sure that the humanitarian issues should be taken care of, that are posing a significant threat to the public of Afghanistan. As we know, they have the social issue, the economic problems, the bank which is at the verge of collapse. The accounts have been frozen, $9.5 billion of the Afghan people’s funds that is being held in the United States of America and other Western countries, that has been frozen and not released. There is acute shortage of food, and it is believed that 60% of the total population is at the verge of an absolute catastrophe. 1.1 million children can die if there is no appropriate help available at the right time; plus about 3.2 children are at the verge of starvation.

So a lot of issues in Afghanistan, and Pakistan has taken the initiative to have this moot in Islamabad, so the issue of Afghanistan should be raised and the Western countries should come forward and help the Afghan people.

Now, in our second portion we are joined by Lt. Gen. Raza Muhammad Khan (ret.) who is a senior analyst…. and former Ambassador Naghmana Hashmi, senior diplomat and former ambassador—Ma’am, a pleasure to have you on the show. And from Stockholm, Sweden, we’ve been joined by Hussein Askary, who’s an expert on international relations. A pleasure to have you, Askary, sir….

Now, coming to you Hussein Askary: $2.2 trillion being spent—wisely or otherwise, that’s a separate question—20 years of war in Afghanistan. And at the end of the day, millions of people got displaced, hundreds of thousands of them got killed. Around 55, 60 countries invaded. Not even one is there to support them, now. So perhaps they were there to liberate, but they couldn’t liberate, so from liberalization to starvation: 20 years, $2.2 trillion: What sort of economic equation is this, sir? Let’s throw light on it.

NAGHMANA HASHMI: It’s more like $6 trillion.

HUSSEIN ASKARY: Also your guests have correctly pointed to some very important things [about the nature of the OIC meeting, including the UNSC P5 countries, and what should be planned]. But I think Pakistan’s efforts to alleviate the situation in Afghanistan are laudable. I read the letter written by Foreign Minister [Shah Mahmood] Qureshi, and he correctly pointed out that the danger is looming, and the urgency of nations, both in the Islamic world, but also internationally to move, quickly, to both release the funds of the Afghan people, these funds, the $9.5 billion have been frozen in the United States and European banks, these belong to the Afghani nation, they don’t belong to the Taliban.

And your Foreign Minister also correctly pointed to the fact that there are millions of people in Afghanistan are now thinking about taking their children and moving outside of Afghanistan, to Iran, Pakistan, wherever they could. And this would be an even greater humanitarian crisis. But the international institutions like the World Food Program and others, have pointed out that there are millions, 20 million at least, of these people are threatened by starvation, and therefore there should be a first step is to unfreeze the funds of the Afghan people, because that would be the quickest way to get food, medicine and other needs for the Afghan people—in addition, of course, to the humanitarian aid. But that’s primary.

Now, the thing is, what we have seen, as you have pointed out, the crisis in Afghanistan is not caused by Taliban takeover. It is caused by 20 years of failures of the trans-Atlantic world, with trillions of dollars spent, only on military operations, security operations. As your guests said, they failed to build the capacity in Afghanistan, to produce food, to have decent healthcare, to have the basics of life produced inside Afghanistan. So this is a massive failures, and now we have this cynical game, where as your foreign minister has clearly pointed out that if you now starve the Afghan people, which is a crime, actually, against humanity—this collective punishment—what you will create is a chaotic security situation which will breed terrorism, it will breed mass emigration—it will breed the same things you claim to what to prevent.

So, this is a clear failure, but we are now mobilizing, that every effort should be made to resolve the situation, to get people in the United States and in Europe back to their senses. The Schiller Institute is involved in an international campaign to push the U.S. congress, to push the European politicians and governments, and humanitarian organizations are also supporting this effort, to unfreeze the funds of Afghanistan people, and start to work with the de facto government in Afghanistan, in Kabul to start humanitarian aid.

Now, the one important thing which your guests also pointed out, is related to the OIC, the Islamic nations have been suppressed, but that is because we had an era of geopolitics which has just ended in Afghanistan. Even President Biden said, the withdrawal from Afghanistan marks the end of an era. Now whatever he means by that, what we mean by that, is there is a new paradigm in international relations: the age of geopolitics, where you can pit one nation against the other, to make geopolitical gains—not really any service to humanity, and in that geopolitical game of divide and conquer, Islamic nations, Muslim nations were pitted against each other, like in Libya, then Syria, in Yemen, and it’s continuing until today! So it is time that we move away from geopolitics, including all the Muslim nations: They should not be involved in this geopolitical game of divide and conquer—and unite the effort to push the new paradigm which is exemplified by the Belt and Road Initiative. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is the best vehicle to stretch the New Silk Road, this new strategy for reconstruction and win-win cooperation, into Afghanistan, and all the neighbors of Afghanistan will benefit from this, the world will benefit from this.

So this is the end of an era, and Muslim nations have to unite their efforts, also with other non-Muslim nations, like for example, we have in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. This will lead us, as your guests said, into both alleviating the immediate humanitarian crisis, but also pave the wave to a long-term solution based on economic cooperation, building of infrastructure, and building a health platform, which our institute, as the chairwoman of our institute has discussed on your television broadcast: We have Operation Ibn Sina to create, starting with Afghanistan and Yemen, a healthcare platform, which is based on building the necessary infrastructure—water, power, transport, education and so on—to bring modern healthcare to the people. That’s the only way nations in the East and the West can work together, so we can close the chapter, the bloody chapter of geopolitics, which has extended now for 40 years—not only the last 20 years—and cost millions of lives, caused massive misery, mass emigration, as you experienced yourself in Pakistan. So this is an opportunity as well as a crisis time. So we should seize the opportunity to unite the efforts both of the Muslim nations, but also the international community, to bring a more human solution to the situation.

REHMAN: One quick comment before I return to our guests in the studio. Earlier we had a guest from Germany, and she was mentioning the fact that there is no news about Afghanistan in the Western media. And since you live in Scandinavia, and perhaps countries like Norway and even Sweden, or Denmark for that matter, Finland, these are the countries, the champions of humanitarian crises, and the sufferings of the people, they’re always very vocal about it. What is the current scenario? Is this moot also being talked about in the Western media, in particular in Scandinavia?

ASKARY: No, your guest from Germany was obviously correct. Afghanistan has disappeared from the media coverage. The only things that are reported are people shedding crocodile tears over the situation of women and girls in Afghanistan, but they’re ignorant of the fact that these actions, the sanctions against Afghanistan are killing women and girls and children in Afghanistan. We have a few humanitarian organizations that have actually made public calls for relaunching the humanitarian aid in Afghanistan, so we have many Nordic organizations that have been involved in Afghanistan for many years, and now they are making public calls. They get a limited coverage. But remember that now the governments and the elites here in Scandinavia, in Europe generally, and also in the United States they are united now to focus on what they call “stopping China and Russia.” Because those countries, most of them in NATO, they failed in Afghanistan. But they want to shift the attention from their failure and the misery they have created in Libya, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq, and so on, to saying that the problems of the world are because you have two authoritarian regimes in Russia and China, and we have to stop them. And this is complete madness, because what we will get is a World War III: It will be fought not by regular armies, but by nuclear weapons. And this is a recipe for the extinction of the human race!

So those people in the media are supporting the war machine here, even in Scandinavia, to focus on how to fight and stop Russia and China.

Now, Pakistan gets part of the blame in the situation here in the media, because they say Pakistan is supporting the Taliban, and this is really evil propaganda—

REHMAN: —at the end of the day, the narratives are always set by the Western world. And these are those narratives.

ASKARY: Yes, but there is a reality on the ground. It is reality which will determine the outcome of things, not what people say in the media, not what these intelligence agencies are writing and sending to the media to tell the people. There is a reality: The world has changed. The power of the world, the economic power of the world has moved to the East. We have massive social and economic problems here in Europe. We have an electricity crisis, right here in Europe! We have a healthcare crisis, right here in Europe! So these realities will determine which way nations will go, not what people in the military-industrial complex and their media agents are saying.

REHMAN: Perfectly said, perfectly said….

Last comment from you, closing remarks, Askary, sir.

ASKARY: Thank you very much. It has been a very enriching discussion here, I think. On the question of India, it is ironical that it was on your television, or another program perhaps, I suggested a month before India decided to send wheat through Pakistan, that India and Pakistan should work together on economic cooperation. Forget about all the British geopolitics that have created the Kashmir problems and other problems: that there’s a way for India to come back to its geo-economic and cultural environment. India is not an Atlantic country. There is an identity crisis in India. They want to have one foot in Asia, but the other foot in the Atlantic, and that is creating big problems for India.

There is a reality which India cannot surpass, which is a geographical, cultural, historical situation, and this is a very good case of that geo-economics, is superior geopolitics. And it was a welcome thing when I saw that your Prime Minister Imran Khan even accepted to allow the Indian wheat to go to Afghanistan, as I had suggested a month earlier. But then, due to these, sometimes quite silly geopolitical and other games this did not go through. But this is a very good a case where Pakistan’s position in the region should be reinforced by not by these games—

REHMAN: —absolutely. Very important point, especially this particular action of Pakistan is also opening up so many avenues for both these countries to at least start talking, start negotiating.

ASKARY: And India has everything to gain from working with Pakistan—

REHMAN: All right, thank you so much, Askary, for your discussion. That’s all we have for this hour.


Helga Zepp-LaRouche and Hussein Askary Appear on PakistanTV

Dec. 17 (EIRNS)—Helga Zepp-LaRouche and Hussein Askary appeared on Pakistani PTV World today, commenting live on the meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) dedicated to Afghanistan. {A transcript of Mrs. Zepp-LaRouche and Askary’s remarks will be posted soon.}

In her intervention, Zepp-LaRouche praised Pakistan for hosting the OIC conference on Afghanistan, given the failure of the West to take responsibility for the enormous risk to life of millions of people in Afghanistan. The withholding of Afghanistan’s funds by Western banks is shameful. She promoted Operation Ibn Sina as a path forward in creating a health and development path forward for Afghanistan, and hoped that the OIC would incorporate it into its proposals.

The American-NATO defeat by the Taliban was a humiliating experience, but this does not end the responsibility to the well-being of the people of Afghanistan. The given reason for withholding funding is the Taliban’s mistreatment of women and children, but creating the conditions for mass starvation is essentially genocide, and this is what the economic blockade does. Withholding funds may also cause Afghanistan to turn to drug production, which the Taliban opposes. She appealed to the entire world to choose the side of humanity over barbarism.

Responding to another question about the discussion of Afghanistan and the OIC meeting in the West, Zepp-LaRouche emphasized the potential of the human impulse to do good could overcome geopolitics. As an example, she cited the coordination between India and Pakistan of Indian supplies going to Afghanistan via Pakistan. Another example is the collaboration of the Central Asian Republics with Russia and China. If the United States could be induced to make a positive contribution, this would be of absolute world historical importance in shifting the world paradigm: “I think the whole destiny of mankind is concentrated like a laser in what happens in Afghanistan.” It must become an issue of the whole world. Is humanity fit to survive? “In one sense, I think the fate of Afghanistan and the fate of humanity are more closely connected than most people can imagine.”

Askary praised Pakistan’s efforts to support the people of Afghanistan, both to release the billions of dollars held by American and European financial institutions and to end sanctions. Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Qureshi has made commendable efforts to these ends. The release of funds is essential, but more is required. The crisis in Afghanistan was not caused by the Taliban, but by twenty years of failures of Western military action. The current situation in Afghanistan will cause the rise of terrorism and of immigration, outcomes that Western nations supposedly oppose. The geopolitical game must be ended, replaced by the new paradigm exemplified by the Belt and Road Initiative. The immediate crisis must be addressed, but the way must be paved to the long-term solution provided by infrastructure, including health infrastructure. The Schiller Institute’s Operation Ibn Sina is a proposal that allows for international cooperation across the geopolitical divide to provide for the common well-being of the people of the world. This is the opportunity presented by the current crisis, an opportunity that must be fought for.

Askary explained that Afghanistan had fallen off the media in Scandinavia as well. Although there are many Nordic organizations pushing for humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, this receives scant coverage. But with the push among institutions to oppose China and Russia, there is little room to support useful efforts.

He emphasized that Muslim nations have been pitted against each other by British geopolitics, as happened in Libya, Syria, and Yemen. But, the age of geopolitics has ended with the failure in Afghanistan and a new paradigm beckons, based on economic cooperation. Muslim nations should join this new paradigm. He also spoke to the importance of India taking its rightful position as an Asian nation rather than an Atlanticist one, working with Pakistan and other neighbors of Afghanistan like China.

He closed by stressing that although narratives may appear to have a certain power, it is reality that ultimately has the upper hand. {The link to watch it is here.}


New Xinhua Video on the BRI Features African & Ibero-American Leaders, Schiller Institute Rep

New Xinhua Video on the BRI Features African & Ibero-American Leaders, Schiller Institute Rep

Nov. 20 (EIRNS)–“Xi Urges Continuous Efforts to Promote High-Quality BRI Development” is the headline of a new Xinhua print and video release, dated 11/20/21, which features short statements from Zimbabwe President Mnangagwa, former Brazilian President Temer, and think tankers including the Schiller Institute’s Richard A. Black on the success of the BRI in uniting over 140 countries and 30 organizations in global manufacturing and development.

In the 10-minute English-language Xinhua video, Black, identified as the Schiller Institute representative at the UN, is shown in a recent video interview describing a unique feature of the BRI: a great economic power, China, has extended its arms worldwide to all nations — including those nations which are poor and are small — and deals with those nations as equals. This is an aspect of a win-win strategy of rapid, mutual economic benefit. (The article with the embedded video is found here.)

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Pakistan’s PTV World Features Helga Zepp-LaRouche

Sep. 20 (EIRNS)–On Pakistan’s “PTV World” broadcast, Faisal Rehman hosted Helga Zepp-LaRouche of the Schiller Institute and Pakistan’s Ambassador to Italy, Jauhar Saleem. Rehman began by welcoming “Our guest, Ms. Helga!” with an opening question as whether the world had entered into a clash of civilizations. Zepp-LaRouche answered that she had read Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations, and, first, it must be said that he knew very little about the civilizations that he wrote about.

Further, the world is not about “geopolitics but geo-economics” — employing the distinction recently made by Pakistani President Imran Khan. AUKUS is not the spirit of the time. The AUKUS attempt may even provoke something like de Gaulle’s response to NATO, as in 1958. This move has destroyed trust in Biden. He had just said, in pulling troops out of Afghanistan, that this was the end of an era; the end of useless wars. Was he serious? Or was it just to concentrate forces against China? This is not good for Biden, as trust in his word is undermined.

Rather, the New Silk Road is the pathway – and the Schiller Institute, by the way, has been on this pathway since 1991. So, does Australia want to be an aircraft carrier for this new military alliance? Or does it want an economic future for its own people? The situation is that there is a decaying neo-liberal system, and it has been refusing to respond to offers from China and Russia.

After a question and some discussion with Ambassador Saleem, Rehman turned back to Zepp-LaRouche, and asked: How would the U.S. and China, given the present conflicting positions, move ahead? Zepp-LaRouche set out that, objectively, neither China nor Russia represent a threat. There have been many offers on demilitarization from Putin — including to Germany, when he spoke, in German, to the Bundestag. And China has lifted 850 million of their people out of poverty. The BRI is not a threat. They are offering to developing countries to conquer poverty.

We need to take a step back. It is a nuclear-armed world, and there is the threat of war by accident, war by miscalculation. China’s Global Times clearly warned that China will fight and win certain conflicts, such as Taiwan. Therefore, we must stop geopolitics. In Afghanistan, David Beasley from the World Food Program made clear that 90% are hungry. Afghanistan’s Health Minister Majrood explained that 90% have recently been denied health care. The recent move to use the Extended Troika (of China, Pakistan, Russia and the United States) involves reaching out and collaborating to develop Afghanistan. It can be integrated into the BRI — and there is the offer to Europe and the US to join in. Pino Arlacchi, e.g, was able to conclude an agreement in 2000 with the Taliban on opium production.

There are presently two billion people in the world without access to clean water. We need a modern health sector in every country. Not doing so simply means that there will be more mutations, new variants and the defeat of the last round of vaccines. Clearly, this crisis requires a new paradigm. Afghanistan can be the new building block. The human species is the only one endowed with creative reason. We can find cures for a pandemic, for overcoming poverty, even colonizing Mars. You know, in February, the United Arab Emirates, China and the United States all had Mars missions at the same time. It is time to become an adult species.


Schiller Institute Leaders Zepp-LaRouche and Askary Join Pakistan-Based Online Forum for Afghanistan Development

Sept. 16 (EIRNS)—The Asian Institute of Eco-Civilization Research and Development, a Pakistan-based think tank, held an online seminar today to launch its “Kandahar Dialogue.” The event, titled “Afghanistan in Search of Peace and Prosperity,” brought together some half-dozen speakers, including Helga Zepp-LaRouche, the founder of the Schiller Institute; Andrey Kortunov, director general of the Russian International Affairs Council; and Hussein Askary, Southwest Asia Coordinator for the Schiller Institute. It was moderated by Pakistani political economist Shakeel Ahmad Ramay, who had addressed the Schiller Institute’s international conference on “World at a Crossroad: Two Months into the New U.S. Administration,” on March 20-21. His March 21 remarks were on “CPEC, Connectivity, and Future Prospects.”

Afghanistan’s neighbors, Pakistan emphatically included, are eager to create conditions for stability, development, and predictability, to create a welcoming environment for long-term development. EIR magazine will make further reports available in the near future.


SCO Opens in Tajikistan: Pakistan’s Imran Khan Calls for Replacing Geo-politics With Geo-economics

SCO Opens in Tajikistan: Pakistan’s Imran Khan Calls for Replacing Geo-politics With Geo-economics

Sept. 16, 2021 (EIRNS)—The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is convening at the head-of-state level in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, with the crisis in Afghanistan the major immediate challenge to their 20-year mission. The eight SCO countries—China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan—become nine with full membership granted to Iran. (Afghanistan, Belarus, and Mongolia are “Observer States”; Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Turkey are “Dialogue Partners.”)

Early reports indicate multiple “sideline” meetings of the leaders of various countries. In particular, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan was quite busy on Thursday, meeting on the sidelines with Belarus’s President Alexander Lukashenko, Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi and Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. He had a more extensive bilateral meeting with Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on “trade, investment and transportation links.”

He had been welcomed at Dushanbe’s airport by Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmon. According to the statement released by the Pakistani government, he described an upgrading of the two countries’ engagement—what he termed his “Vision Central Asia” policy—and emphasized connectivity and Pakistan’s “pivotal position in providing the shortest access route to the sea.” His key example of connectivity was the Trans-Afghan railway project connecting Termez/Mazar-e-Sharif/Kabul/Jalalabad/Peshawar. His statement repeated the need to transform from “geo-politics” to “geo-economics.”

He also addressed the new Pakistan-Tajikistan Business Forum on expanding the “minuscule” $80 million of trade. He declared that Pakistan would expedite work on the CASA-1000 power transmission line to benefit from “your clean and cheap energy [such as] hydroelectricity”, too much lacking in Pakistan. Otherwise, he stated that he would work with President Rahmon to stabilize Afghanistan: “We will be doing our best to make sure they get together and there is an inclusive government.”


Taliban Want Relations with Regional Nations

Taliban Want Relations with Regional Nations

Sep. 6 (EIRNS) — TASS, citing Al Jazeera, reported this morning that the Taliban intend to invite a number of foreign countries to be present at the installation of the new government that they expect to announce within the next few days. “We have sent invitations to Turkey, China, Russia, Iran, Pakistan and Qatar to take part in the [ceremony] of announcing [the composition of the new Afghan] government,” said an unnamed Taliban representative.

Mohammad Akbar Agha, a former Taliban field commander and now the leader of Afghanistan’s High Council of Salvation, told TASS yesterday that the Taliban is very interested in establishing relations with Russia, Iran and Pakistan. “We should establish broad relations with Moscow, since it is in the interests of both the Taliban and Russia,” he said. “Iran and Pakistan are also countries we want to establish relations with. They need us and we need them.”

Agha also said that the Taliban have no objections against having a U.S. embassy in Kabul but Washington is afraid of it. “Before the United States’ invasion of Afghanistan there was a possibility to have good relations with Washington. But after their invasion and their crimes … relations have worsened,” he said. Agha said that “there are chances that [diplomatic] relations between the United States and the Taliban will be established. I think the Taliban will not be against opening the U.S. embassy in Afghanistan. But the United States is afraid of the current situation in the country and most likely there will be no embassy for some time,” he said.


Afghanistan: the Role of the Neighboring Countries in Development

Afghanistan: the Role of the Neighboring Countries in Development

Aug. 5, 2021 (EIRNS) – During a Schiller Institute conference July 31, Prof. Pino Arlacchi, the former head of the United Nations Office of Drug Control who negotiated near-elimination of Afghan opium production with the Taliban 20 years ago, noted that immediately neighboring countries should play a primary role in planning South Asian regional development to include Afghanistan, and in stopping drug traffic from that country. One country clearly taking the point for this kind of development is Uzbekistan, under President Shavkat Mirziyoyev.

A July 31 article in EastAsiaForum.org by Nasriddinov Salokhiddin, a researcher at the Institute for International Security of Tokyo International University, calls the February 2021 conference with Pakistan and Afghanistan organized by Mirziyoyev, “the event of the century for Central Asia”, because it will connect landlocked Central Asian countries to the Indian Ocean through Afghanistan and Pakistan. The conference attendees decided on a 600-kilometer Tashkent-Mazar e-Sharif-Kabul-Peshawar railroad and requested $4.8 billion in World Bank funding for it, Apparently the railroad corridor project was planned from the first to include new electricity transmission lines through it.

Noting the criticism that surmounting the Hindu Kush Mountains will make the project very expensive, Salokhiddin wrote: “Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan filed an appeal for investment to international financial institutions, which [appeal] received support from the United States, China and Russia. Representatives of the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Asian Development Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank also expressed their willingness to assist the project through technical consulting and financing. Such wide support for the project means that the source of investment is no longer a concern.” He did not give dates or details regarding these other nations’ and international institutions’ support. He did add that the route transits Afghanistan through regions and cities which are under relatively secure government control now.

The author wrote that freight traffic in Afghanistan was about 4 million tons for 2020 and had risen by 25%. “Estimates suggest that if implemented, the trans-Afghan railroad will increase annual volume of rail freight by 20 million tons.” Some economists in Uzbekistan have advocated a railroad corridor to Chabahar in Iran instead, as allegedly more secure. But, “To achieve its economic objectives, access to the ports of Karachi and Gwadar is Uzbekistan’s highest priority.” Full article is here.


28 Nations Participate in China’s Belt and Road Partnership on COVID Vaccines Cooperation

August 3, 2021 (EIRNS)—On June 23 of this year, at the Asia and Pacific High-Level Conference on Belt and Road Cooperation, presided over by China’s State Councilor and Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, 28 nations joined in launching the China Initiative for Belt and Road Partnership on Covid-19 Vaccine Cooperation. The statement announcing this initiative stressed that international cooperation and solidarity are key to fighting the pandemic, that “people and their lives” must be put first, and that no one is safe until everyone is safe. It emphasized that vaccines must be equitably distributed and that there must be “open, fair and non-discriminatory international cooperation on vaccines.”

A number of other recommendations for the BRI vaccine cooperation initiative included facilitating joint vaccine research, development and technological exchanges; promoting partnerships between vaccine producers and developing countries for joint vaccine production, to scale up global production; encouraging regional and multilateral development banks to provide more concessional financing to developing countries for their vaccine procurement and production; and “strengthening Belt and Road cooperation on connectivity to ensure cross-border flows of vaccines.”

According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry yesterday, in less than two months the BRI vaccine initiative has yielded impressive results, reaching cooperative agreements with several of the initiative’s 28 co-sponsors on a total of 775 million doses of vaccines, including in the form of concentrates, of which 350 million doses have been delivered. In addition, Chinese companies have started joint production with four co-sponsors of this initiative, whose names were not specified, and are discussing joint production “with other interested countries.” In today’s foreign ministry press conference, spokesman Wang Wenbin reported that China has provided vaccine assistance to over 80 countries and vaccines to 40 countries, also reporting that China is collaborating with other developing nations to mass produce the vaccine. It was also announced today that the World Health Organization has granted emergency use authorization to China’s Sinovac vaccine. (The full initiative statement is detailed here.)

The 28 countries include: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Chile, China, Colombia, Fiji, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.


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