G20 leaders to increase humanitarian aid for Afghanistan

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G20 leaders to increase humanitarian aid for Afghanistan

The leaders of the Group of 20 nations have agreed to step up humanitarian aid to Afghanistan following the US military withdrawal in August — willing to negotiate with the Taliban to ensure the help gets through but not prepared to recognize the extremist group.

G20 members, including President Biden and a number of European leaders, took part in the virtual meeting Tuesday in Rome, but absent were China’s Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who hosted the virtual summit, said the failure of Russia and China to attend did not diminish the importance of the meeting. 

“This was the first multilateral response to the Afghan crisis … multilateralism is coming back, with difficulty, but it is coming back,” Draghi said. 

There was unanimous agreement among those participating on the need for humanitarian assistance, keeping Kabul’s international airport operating and Afghanistan’s borders open, and ensuring that women’s rights be respected. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attends G20 extraordinary meeting on sending humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attends the G20 extraordinary meeting on sending humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.
Mustafa Kamaci/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
German Chancellor Angela Merkel following the G20 special summit where countries voted unanimously to send more humanitarian support to Afghanistan.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel following the G20 special summit, where countries voted unanimously to send more humanitarian support to Afghanistan.
Michele Tantussi/Pool Photo via AP

Draghi said talks with the Taliban would be necessary to ensure the aid, which will be channeled through the United Nations, gets to the Afghan people — but the group would eventually 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 we can see, it seems like they’re going back 20 years.”

The UN said Afghanistan, which​ has been mired in poverty for decades, is teetering on economic collapse since the Taliban marched into the capital, Kabul, on Aug. 15 and took over the government. 

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said that the absence of the Chinese and Russian leaders from the summit did not diminish the necessity of the meeting.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said the absence of the Chinese and Russian leaders from the summit did not diminish the necessity of the meeting.
Xinhua via Getty Images
Chinese President Xi Jinping's special representative Wang Yi, also Chinese state councilor and foreign minister attended the summit, however President Xi Jinping was not seen.
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s special representative Wang Yi, also Chinese state councilor and foreign minister, attended the summit, but Xi did not.
Yan Yan/Xinhua via Getty Images

Banks are running out of money, government workers haven’t been paid, rising food prices threaten millions with severe hunger and the approach of winter only adds to the vulnerability of women and children.

“We all have nothing to gain if the entire monetary or financial system in Afghanistan is collapsing, because then humanitarian aid can no longer be provided either,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters in Berlin.

Before the summit, the Chinese Communist Party insisted that sanctions against Afghanistan be removed and the billions of dollars in assets frozen by the US and Europe be returned to Kabul. 

According to sources, the people in Afghanistan in dire need of supplies as banks are running out of money.
According to sources, the people in Afghanistan are in dire need of supplies as banks are running out of money.
Bilal Guler/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani attends the G20 summit on October 13, 2021 to send aid to Afghanistan.
Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani attends the G20 summit on October 13, 2021, to send aid to Afghanistan.
Qatari Emirate Council/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

But that was met with resistance by the G20 because of concerns the funds would fall into the hands of the Taliban.

The European Union was adamant about not recognizing the Taliban.

“But the Afghan people should not pay the price of the Taliban’s actions,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.

W​ith Post wires​

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