KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will contribute 1.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Afghanistan in an effort to assist the troubled country, said Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Kamarudin Jaffar.

However, he said, the matter was still in the process of negotiations with the authorities in Afghanistan.

“Yesterday, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) delegation left carrying about USD50,000 in cash to be spent or used to buy goods in Pakistan or Afghanistan itself,” he said during the question and answer session at the Dewan Rakyat today.

He was replying to a question from Ahmad Fahmi Mohamed Fadzil (PH-Lembah Pantai) who wanted to know the value of assistance given by the government to the Afghan people thus far and the form of assistance to be given in the coming year.

On Malaysia’s stance and its relations with Afghanistan, Kamarudin said in the Extraordinary Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), attended by Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah in Islamabad, Pakistan, on Dec 19, Malaysia was of the view that the construction aspect and humanitarian aid to Afghanistan must be led, owned and controlled by that country.

He said Malaysia also called on the international community to increase efforts to provide international humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.

Kamarudin said the recognition of the Afghan government could take place through two channels, namely Malaysia, as a member of the OIC, could take into account the stand taken jointly within the organisation on the issue of recognition.

“Secondly, to recognise the Afghan government together with like-minded countries, once its government is considered to have met and complied with all the conditions set, namely the establishment of an inclusive government, preserving and defending the human rights of women and ethnic minorities,” he said.

Kamarudin said Malaysia would continue to monitor developments in Afghanistan and he would also represent the country at the OIC Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Islamabad on March 22 to 23 to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan was thrown into turmoil when the Taliban overthrew Mohammad Ashraf Gani’s government in mid-August last year, following the withdrawal of US troops from the country after 20 years of war. - Bernama