G-20 Afghanistan Summit to Focus on Humanitarian, Terror Risks
(Bloomberg) -- Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi managed to convene a virtual summit of the world’s Group of 20 leading nations to discuss Afghanistan, but just who will take part and what will be achieved is still to be determined.
The Oct. 12 forum will focus on the war-torn country that has had “no support from the rest of the world,” Draghi told reporters in Rome on Wednesday. He said the objectives of the meeting would be humanitarian and to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a terrorist haven.
Italy, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the G-20, has been assured of participation by leaders including U.S. President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, according to a G-20 diplomat who declined to be named on confidential preparations.
China has yet to say whether it will take part, or whether Xi Jinping will join the call. Russia has agreed to participate, but has not yet indicated whether Vladimir Putin will dial in, the diplomat said. Talks are already under way with the aim of reaching an agreement on some form of common statement.
Among issues the Italians are pushing for are safe passage out of Afghanistan for those who worked with the U.S.-led military presence -- with Kabul’s airport and Afghan borders kept open to that end-- and help for vulnerable people in the country as well as for refugees in neighboring countries. Italy is also working on a pledge of free access for humanitarian agencies.
With Afghanistan in danger of economic collapse, the U.S. last week said it will approve the provision of aid by granting narrow relief from financial sanctions on the Taliban regime.
The Taliban announced earlier this week that female students can’t return to Kabul University until “a real Islamic environment” is provided. It has previously said that women will only be allowed to work and study within the bounds of their interpretation of Sharia, or Islamic law.
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