A daylong emergency conference of the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) agreed on December 19 to set up a humanitarian trust fund to address the unfolding humanitarian and economic catastrophe in Afghanistan, where millions face hunger and an estimated 1 million children are at risk of dying of severe acute malnutrition.

The fund would be established under the Islamic Development Bank to channel relief aid to Afghans in coordination with other international partners, said a final statement from members at the Pakistan-hosted meeting.  It included delegates from the United States, China, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations.

Media reports say an OIC resolution released after the meeting said the Islamic Development Bank would lead the effort to free up assistance by the first quarter of 2022.

It also urged Afghanistan’s rulers to abide by “obligations under international human rights covenants, especially with regards to the rights of women, children, youth, elderly and people with special needs”.

The conference reportedly marked the biggest international gathering on helping Afghanistan since the Taliban seized power from the Western-backed government in August following a U.S.-led foreign troop exit after 20 years.

Al Jazeera says the OIC emergency ministerial meeting did not give the new Taliban government any formal international recognition and Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi was excluded from the official photograph taken during the event.

Muttaqi said his government “has the right to be officially recognized,” according to Al Jazeera.  “The current Afghanistan government is cooperating with every foreign organization,” he told reporters in Islamabad on December 19, adding that sanctions “must be removed”.

In a speech to delegates, he said the US freezing of assets “is a clear violation of the human rights of Afghans, and can be interpreted as enmity with an entire nation.”

According to the Voice of America (VOA), Washington and Western allies have blocked the Taliban’s access to about US$9.5 billion in Afghan assets, mostly held in the U.S. Federal Reserve, imposed financial sanctions and halted non-humanitarian assistance to the war-ravaged country’s largely foreign aid-dependent economy.