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G20 leaders say Taliban will be involved in humanitarian efforts

The Group of 20 (G20) held a video conference on Tuesday in which they agreed that the Taliban must be actively involved in the distribution of humanitarian aid to the Afghan people. The group insisted that this concession should not be interpreted as a formal recognition of the legitimacy of the Taliban.

“Dealing with the humanitarian crisis will require contact with the Taliban, but that does not mean their recognition. We have to recognize that they will be judged for what they do, not for what they say, ”said Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who currently holds the rotating presidency of the G20.

“It is very difficult to see how you can help people in Afghanistan without involving the Taliban,” Draghi said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel argued it would be necessary to consolidate the Afghan financial infrastructure controlled by the Taliban to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses the media following a video summit on February 1, 2021 in Berlin, Germany. (Henning Schacht – Pool / Getty Images)

“None of us has anything to gain if the entire Afghan monetary system collapses or the financial system collapses. Then humanitarian aid can no longer be provided, ”she said.

“Of course, it’s never easy to draw a line, so to speak, but to see 40 million people fall into chaos because there is no electricity supply or financial system – that cannot and should not be the goal of the international community, ”Merkel said. noted.

Merkel added that the Taliban must earn the trust of the G20 by respecting the rights of women and girls, which the Taliban resolutely have. refused to do, apart from a few very limited concessions in certain provinces.

G20 leaders say Taliban will be involved in humanitarian efforts

Students attend a class divided by a curtain separating men and women at a private university in Kabul on September 7, 2021, to follow the Taliban’s decision. (Aamir Qureshi / AFP via Getty Images)

Draghi and other G20 representatives admitted that the Taliban had so far made “no visible progress on human rights, women’s rights, education or inclusive government”, like the UK Guardian Put the.

This makes the G20 conference the latest international forum to swear that the Taliban will be judged by standards it shows no sign of respect, or even recognition. The new rulers of Afghanistan fired the global community’s demand for cooperation in combating terrorism last week, but G20 participants continued to list such cooperation as a demand the Taliban must comply with.

The Guardian noted that much of the humanitarian aid money will soon pass into the hands of the Taliban, even as the US and European governments struggle to prevent the extremist regime from tapping into frozen Afghan funds and international financial support :

The European Union kicked off with an announcement of additional emergency aid worth € 700 million to Afghanistan and neighboring countries. The pledge brings the total commitment of new funding to € 1 billion, following the EU executive’s pledge of € 300 million to help prevent basic services in Afghanistan from collapsing and running out of power. food.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has said the country is at a crossroads. He told reporters in New York: “In accordance with international law and principles, we must find ways to inject liquidity into the economy so that it does not collapse. If we don’t act and help the Afghans weather this storm, and do it quickly, not only them but the whole world will pay a heavy price.

He said the money could be injected through United Nations trust funds and other instruments. “I am particularly alarmed to see the promises made to Afghan women and girls by the Taliban not be honored,” he added.

The G20 virtual conference was snubbed by Russian Presidents Vladimir Putin and Chinese Presidents Xi Jinping, who announcement plans to hold its own summit on Afghanistan in Moscow on October 20.

G20 leaders say Taliban will be involved in humanitarian efforts

Russian President Vladimir Putin (center) reviews a military honor guard with Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) during a welcoming ceremony outside the Great People’s Palace in Beijing on June 8, 2018 (Greg Baker / POOL / AFP via Getty Images)

Russia and China have supported the Taliban far more than the rest of the G20, coming just before officially recognizing the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” as a legitimate government.

The Russians and Chinese have their own specific concerns about terrorist threats fleeing across Afghanistan’s borders and expect the Taliban to take their concerns more seriously than those of the United States or the United States. European Union. Russia is holding joint military exercises with its allies in Tajikistan and warning the Taliban to restrain Tajik extremists hiding on Afghan soil, while China is particularly worried about Uyghur militants.

“Countries that still impose unilateral sanctions should lift them, and international financial organizations should increase their financial support for poverty reduction and infrastructure building in Afghanistan,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said. , who attended the G20 conference in place of Xi, noted After the meeting.

Wang urged the rest of the G20 to respect “the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Afghanistan”.