ISLAMABAD (PEN) – Pakistan welcomes and appreciates the efforts of the United Nations to provide much-needed humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.

This was stated by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in a statement on Monday for the High-Level Ministerial meeting on the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan.

He said that the situation is becoming dire for around 18 million people of Afghanistan, directly in need of humanitarian assistance and a slow response from the international community can cause grave humanitarian consequences.

He said it is time to renew developmental partnerships, support nation-building, and meet the humanitarian needs of the Afghan population.

The Foreign Minister said that whilst focusing on the humanitarian situation inside Afghanistan, the world must not forget millions of Afghans in large refugee-hosting countries, for whom the international support has dwindled over the years.

He said Pakistan has been supporting the humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan in several ways, including by facilitating the evacuation and relocation of international staff, and establishment of a humanitarian corridor for the delivery of relief goods through air and land routes. He said that Pakistan is also hosting more than 3 million Afghans refugees, for over 4 decades earmarking over one billion dollars for a range of development projects in Afghanistan.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Pakistan appreciates the leadership shown by the UN Secretary-General on this account, and the UN agencies playing a leading role in ensuring humanitarian supplies.