UN Secretary-General appealed on Friday for an injection of cash into Afghanistan to avoid an economic meltdown that would spark a catastrophic situation for the Afghan people and be a gift for terrorist groups.

Iran PressAmerica: The remarks by Antonio Guterres come after his special envoy on Afghanistan, Deborah Lyons, warned the Security Council on Thursday that the freezing of billions of dollars in international Afghan assets to keep them out of Taliban hands would inevitably spark a severe economic downturn.

"At the present moment the UN is not even able to pay its salaries to its own workers," Guterres told reporters.

"We need to find ways to avoid a situation that would be catastrophic for the people and, in my opinion, a source of instability, and an action, gift for terrorist groups still operating there," he said.

Guterres said he had been speaking with International Monetary Fund chief Kristalina Georgieva, telling reporters it was essential to agree on waivers or mechanisms to get money into Afghanistan. The IMF has blocked the Taliban from accessing some $440 million in new emergency reserves.

Much of the Afghan central bank's $10 billion in assets are also parked overseas, where they have been frozen since the Taliban came to power last month. They are considered a key instrument for the West to pressure the Islamist group.


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