G20 agrees to aid to avert Afghanistan humanitarian crisis
The Group of 20 (G20) has agreed to work together to avoid a humanitarian disaster in Afghanistan, even if it means having to coordinate efforts with the Taliban, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said after hosting an emergency summit.
The European Union opened the talks on Tuesday by pledging €1 billion ($1.2b), which will go to urgent humanitarian needs and also to assist neighboring countries taking in Afghans who have been fleeing since the Taliban took control of the country on August 15, Al Jazeera reported.
“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 video conference.
There was unanimous agreement among the participants about the need to alleviate the crisis in Afghanistan, where the country’s assets overseas have been frozen, banks have run out of money, civil servants have not been paid, and food prices have soared. Millions are at risk of severe hunger as winter approaches.
“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.
Draghi said that the Taliban were crucial to getting the aid through, saying: “It’s very hard to see how one can help the Afghan people … without some sort of involvement of the Taliban government.”
Draghi stressed that coordinating with the Taliban did not mean recognizing their administration and that the Taliban would be judged by their deeds, not their words.
Abandoning Afghanistan would be a mistake: Qatari FM
Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said abandoning Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover would be a mistake “no matter who is leading the government”.
Speaking on Wednesday at the Global Security Forum held in Doha, Qatari top diplomat said: ““We have been saying from the beginning that an isolation will never be an answer and when we are talking about engagement, that is needed with whoever is governing Afghanistan because abandoning Afghanistan will be a big mistake.”
Earlier this week, Qatar hosted the first face-to-face talks between the United States and Taliban representatives.
“Our aim is finding a way forward, because we cannot leave it as it is and we cannot just wait for steps to be taken by the Taliban.
“From our perspective, it is very important to provide guidance for them [the Taliban] … rewarding each positive step they are going to take and not just talk about penalizing the negative steps. This will create an incentive for progress and the way to forward.”
Sheikh Mohammed reiterated Qatar’s position that recognizing a Taliban government was not a priority but engagement with other countries was important.