Leaders of the world’s 20 largest economies are holding an extraordinary virtual summit on Afghanistan on Tuesday, less than two months after the Taliban took control of the country. Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who holds the rotating G-20 presidency, had insisted the meeting be held, saying Afghanistan was heading towards a humanitarian catastrophe.
Mr Draghi said Tuesday’s closed-door meeting on Afghanistan would focus on security, humanitarian aid and human rights in the country. It is being held less than three weeks before the G-20 world leaders’ meeting to be held in Rome on October 30-31.
Ever since the Taliban returned to power on August 15, following the withdrawal of US troops after two decades of war, there have been growing concerns about the humanitarian situation in the country. The leaders will hold discussions on the fight against terrorism, freedom of movement inside and outside Afghanistan, both for Afghans and members of non-governmental organizations, and the situation of women in the country, which Draghi described as a “priority”. ”
The Italian prime minister spoke about Afghanistan in a recent interview on Italian state television.
Mr Draghi said that from Italy ‘s point of view, the challenges of the future were the protection of fundamental rights, the protection of the rights of women and all those who over the years have been exposed to dangerous situations to protect these rights in Afghanistan.
A major challenge will be the pressure on the Taliban to guarantee the rights of women who face discrimination and violence, including their full return to school and workplace and engagement in political life. Only boys are allowed to attend high school and currently more than 2 million girls are denied access to education.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Monday that Afghanistan was facing “a crucial moment” and called on the world to act.
Prior to its takeover by the Taliban, international aid accounted for 75% of Afghanistan’s state spending, but governments and international organizations cut off funding and froze Afghan property.
Mr Guterres said on Monday that banks in Afghanistan were closing and that healthcare and other essential services had been suspended in many regions. He warned that the humanitarian crisis, which is affecting half of the country’s population, is deepening.
“The Afghan people should not suffer a collective punishment because of the Taliban,” Guterres said.
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell pledged to help on Monday, saying in an EU ministerial meeting that “the humanitarian and socio-economic situation in Afghanistan is on the verge of collapse.”
“Today we agreed on a calibrated approach to provide direct support to the Afghan people in order to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe without recognizing the Taliban,” Mr Borrell said. “We will send assistance through our multilateral partners respecting our principles of engagement.” / VOA
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