The chairman of the Afghan Aid Committee also approves Prime Minister Imran Khan’s transit of Indian food aid.
Islamabad, Pakistan Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has announced more than $ 28 million in medical, food and other humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, while approving the transport of food aid from India through Pakistan to Afghanistan, his office said.
Khan met his country’s army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and top officials, including the foreign minister, finance minister and national security adviser, in the Pakistani capital Islamabad on Monday.
“[The PM] ordered an immediate shipment of humanitarian aid worth 5 billion Pakistani rupees [roughly $28.4m], which will include food, including 50,000 [metric tonnes] of wheat, emergency medical supplies, winter cabins and other supplies, “it said in a statement released after the meeting.
The Pakistani government will also reduce tariffs and sales tax on certain Afghan exports to Pakistan, the statement said.
Khan’s office said it would allow 50,000 tonnes of wheat offered by India as humanitarian aid to Afghanistan “to go through Pakistan as soon as the modalities are completed with the Indian side”.
The aid had been offered earlier this month, and on November 11, the Indian Foreign Ministry said it had faced obstacles in accessing Afghanistan.
“[W]I have looked at the possibilities, but there have been difficulties due to lack of unhindered access, ”said Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi.
Pakistan says it will also facilitate the return of Afghans seeking medical treatment in India, who had been stranded there since the Taliban’s takeover of Pakistan’s northwestern neighbor in August.
A delegation of Afghan health officials is due to visit Islamabad to talk to Pakistani counterparts about Pakistani humanitarian aid, the statement said.
Top US delegation visits
Also on Monday, a delegation of two high-ranking US congressmen – the chairman of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee, Gregory Meeks and the chairman of Asia’s subcommittee chairman Ami Bera – held talks in Islamabad with the Pakistani prime minister, foreign minister and other officials.
At their meeting, Khan reiterated Pakistani stance that there was a need to engage with the Taliban government in Kabul to avert a potential humanitarian catastrophe, his office said in a statement.
“The Prime Minister also hoped that ways and means would be found to resolve the liquidity issue and enable banking channels to help Afghanistan maintain its immediate economic burden and challenges,” the statement said, referring to more than $ 9.5 mia. in Afghan central bank reserves, which remain frozen by the United States.
A brief statement from the US House Foreign Affairs Committee confirmed the visit and the meetings of the two members of Congress.
“While in Pakistan, the delegation welcomed Pakistan’s efforts to support the evacuation of US citizens and legal residents from Afghanistan and exchanged views on a wide range of issues, including counter – terrorism, the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, climate change and trade. It read in the US statement.
Asad Hashim is Al Jazeera’s digital correspondent in Pakistan. He tweets @AsadHashim.