G20 leaders agree to step up humanitarian effort in Afghanistan - GulfToday

G20 leaders agree to step up humanitarian effort in Afghanistan


A handout photo shows a virtual G20 leaders summit focused on Afghanistan on Tuesday. AFP

Gulf Today Report

G20 leaders agreed on Tuesday to work together to avoid a humanitarian disaster in Afghanistan, as the European Union pledged $1.15 billion in support for the Afghan people and host Italy stressed the need to maintain contacts with the Taliban.

The Group of 20 countries vowed to accelerate aid amid concerns that an already precarious humanitarian and financial situation will grow catastrophic over the winter.


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G-20 leaders demanded at a virtual summit hosted by Italy that the Taliban government allow humanitarian access across Afghanistan, keep Kabul Airport and the country's borders open and ensure security for UN, humanitarian and diplomatic staff. They also repeated previous demands that women's rights be respected.

Mario Draghi speaks to the media following a G20 virtual summit focused on Afghanistan in Rome. AFP

Italian Premier Mario Draghi said the meeting represented the first multilateral response to the crisis sparked by the August withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan and the takeover of the country by the Taliban.

Draghi told reporters that negotiations would be necessary with the Taliban to get humanitarian aid distributed. But he said such contact by no means constituted a political recognition of the Taliban, who he said would be "judged for what their deeds are, not their words."

"The government, as we know, it's not really inclusive, it's not really representative," he said. "Women's rights, so far as far as we can see, it seems like they're going back 20 years."

G-20 leaders — Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping were represented by ministers while US President Joe Biden addressed the summit — tasked the United Nations with coordinating the humanitarian response and asked international financial institutions to ensure the functioning of Afghanistan's financial system.

As the Islamist group held its first face-to-face talks with a US-EU delegation in Qatar, US President Joe Biden, Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan and India's Narendra Modi joined a virtual summit on the looming economic and humanitarian crises sparked by the Taliban's return to power.


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