G20 virtual meeting on Afghanistan highlights humanitarian challenges
ROME – Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said Tuesday that the G20 extraordinary leaders’ meeting on Afghanistan focused primarily on humanitarian challenges in the Asian country.
Speaking to reporters at the end of the virtual meeting, Draghi called for efforts to confront the biggest challenges that came to the forefront after the withdrawal of the U.S. military and the Taliban’s takeover.
Italy was the host of the meeting as the holder of the rotating G20 presidency.
“What we have is a growing humanitarian catastrophe in Afghanistan and that is something we must tackle immediately,” Draghi told reporters.
Draghi said there were discussions among leaders regarding preventing the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in Afghanistan, preventing the country from becoming a haven for international terrorism, the issue of the migration of Afghans to other countries, human and gender rights issues, as well as the eventual political recognition of the Taliban government.
But he said the consensus was greatest surrounding humanitarian challenges. To that end, Draghi said that European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen vowed to spend 1 billion euros (1.15 billion U.S. dollars) in aid for the country.
Draghi said that keeping the Afghan banking system afloat and keeping the airport in the capital Kabul open are priorities because they are necessary stops for the arrival of humanitarian aid.
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