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LAHORE: South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation-Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SAARC-CCI) Sunday called upon the international community to play its effective role in rebuilding of Afghanistan and extend financial support and make investments there enabling the region's poorest state to grow economically.

SAARC-CCI President Iftikhar Ali Malik stated this here while talking to a delegation of senior lawyers led by Mian Jaffer Hussain. Other members of delegation included Mian Mahmood Ahmad Qazi, Junaid, Jawwad Tariq Nasim, Asif Nazir Awan, Jalilur Rehman, Shafique Butt, Mian Dawood, Anas Sheikh and Ayesha Shafique.

Iftikhar Ali Malik said it was essential that international players and major donors should continue with their support for the people of war-torn Afghanistan, and help revive its jeopardized economy. The new Taliban regime has also expressed its resolve to improve the country's economy. However, the new Afghan regime was in dire need of financial and other support from international community to achieve this herculean task, he mentioned.

The SAARC Chamber's President explained that Afghanistan had since long been depending tremendously upon foreign aid that was 10 times more than what the new Taliban government would be able to obtain from its own resources.

Malik said that new regime had also admitted that it could not improve country's economic situation without foreign assistance, and its Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid also recently talked to many countries and sought their help and support for economic recovery in Afghanistan.

He cited that last year, foreign aid had been 42.9 percent of Afghanistan's $19.8 billion GDP, asserting that high dependency on external aids and decades strife turned the landlocked country's economy vulnerable and fragile.

This grim situation was calling the world's attention to help Afghanistan get on its own feet through rebuilding and strengthening its economy, he added.

The SAARC-CCI President was of the view that peaceful political settlement of Afghanistan was a pre-requisite for stability in the region.

Pakistan attached great importance to Afghanistan's safety, security and protection of Afghans' rights. Malik called upon the international community to de-freeze their donations for Afghans as it was high time to give peace a chance to prevail in Afghanistan that would ultimately help restore durable tranquility in the region.

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