A screen displays international leaders as they take part virtually in an extraordinary G20 leaders meeting on Afghanistan, in Rome, Italy, October 12, 2021. Filippo Attili/Palazzo Chigi Press Office/Handout via REUTERS

The Group of 20 major economies (G20) is determined to help solve the crisis in Afghanistan, even if it means having to coordinate efforts with the Taliban, the Italian Prime Minister said on Tuesday.

Iran PressEurope: Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi hosted a special summit of the Group of 20 major economies on Tuesday to discuss Afghanistan.

The European Union opened the talks on Tuesday by pledging one billion euros ($1.2bn), which will go to urgent humanitarian needs and also to assist neighbouring countries taking in Afghans leaving Afghanistan since the Taliban took control of the country on August 15.

“There has basically been a convergence of views on the need to address the humanitarian emergency,” Draghi told reporters at the end of the special videoconference.

Russian and Chinese Presidents Do Not attend

United States President Joe Biden, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and many European leaders joined the virtual summit, which took place as the Taliban held its first face-to-face talks with a US-EU delegation in Qatar. China’s President Xi Jinping and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin sent representatives rather than attending themselves.

There was unanimous agreement among the participants about the need to alleviate the crisis in Afghanistan.

“To stand by and watch 40 million people plunge into chaos because electricity can’t be supplied and no financial system exists, that cannot and should not be the goal of the international community,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters.

The EU emphasised its money would go to international organisations working on the ground.

Direct country-to-country assistance

Much of the G20 aid effort will be channelled through the United Nations, but there will also be direct country-to-country assistance.

In a joint statement after the meeting, the G20 leaders called on the Taliban to tackle groups operating out of the country. Future humanitarian programmes should focus on women and girls, and safe passage should be given to those Afghans who wished to leave the country, it added.

Ahead of the meeting, China called for economic sanctions on Afghanistan to be lifted and that billions of dollars of Afghan international assets be unfrozen and handed back to Kabul.

The US and the Uk, where many of the assets are being held, are resisting this effort, and there was no mention of the issue in the final statement.

During its 20 years of failed military presence in Afghanistan, the United States has been incapable of containing the Taliban and has produced nothing but the spread of terrorism, war, violence, instability, and the killing of tens of thousands of people.

The US' 20-year war in Afghanistan has cost $2.26 trillion. Billions of dollars were wasted due to a lack of proper oversight.


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