- In telephonic conversation, Pakistan prime minister and Microsoft co-founder also express concern over deteriorating health system in Afghanistan
Prime Minister Imran Khan and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates discussed the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and expressed concern regarding the deteriorating health system in the war-torn country.
In a telephonic conversation with Gates on Wednesday, PM Khan highlighted that people in Afghanistan were in dire need of financial assistance. The PM asked the Microsoft co-founder to consider providing humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people, highlighting that more than half of the population was living below the poverty line there.
The two also discussed the importance of the resumption of polio campaigns in Afghanistan.
Even before the Taliban seized Kabul on August 15, 47% of the population lived in poverty, according to the Asian Development Bank, and a third survived on the equivalent of $1.90 a day.
While many people welcomed the end to 20 years of fighting between the Taliban and ousted Afghan forces supported by foreign troops, the economic crisis is causing the new government increasing concern.
Afghanistan's central bank has been blocked from accessing more than $9 billion in foreign reserves held outside the country, and millions of dollars belonging to the state had disappeared before the Taliban entered the capital.
"Unfortunately, there are no job opportunities for us," said one Kabul resident, who declined to give his name. He said he earned 1,000-1,500 afghani a day before the Taliban arrived but now had nothing.
Meanwhile, PM Khan and Gates also discussed polio eradication efforts and the Foundation’s support towards improving nutrition as well as financial services in Pakistan.
The PM told the Microsoft co-founder that Pakistan has reported only one case of poliovirus this year, and reaffirmed his government's commitment to end all forms of polio in Pakistan.
Gates praised PM for the progress and pledged the Foundation’s continued support to the Pakistan polio programme.
Last month, Pakistan had commenced its polio campaign with the aim to administer anti-polio and vitamin A drops to more than 40 million children up to the age of five years.