G20 countries voice support for continued UN presence in Afghanistan

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The White House readout did not give details of the American president’s own remarks at the G20 meeting…reports Asian Lite News.

G20 leaders on Tuesday called for a “laser focus” on counterterrorism efforts in Afghanistan, especially with regard to threats from the Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K) group, the White House said in a readout of US President Joe Biden’s participation in the meeting that took place virtually.

The leaders also called for safe passage for adequately documented foreign nationals and Afghan partners wanting to leave the country.

The G20 met for a special session on the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, hosted virtually by Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi. Italy currently holds the rotational presidency of the group. The regular summit of G20 leaders is scheduled for later this month in Rome.

“The leaders discussed the critical need to maintain a laser focus on our enduring counterterrorism efforts, including against threats from ISIS-K (another name for IS-K), and ensuring safe passage for those foreign nationals and Afghan partners with documentation seeking to depart Afghanistan,” the White House said.

The leaders also “reaffirmed their collective commitment to provide humanitarian assistance directly to the Afghan people through independent international organisations”, and to promote fundamental human rights for all Afghans, including women, girls and members of minority groups.

The White House further said that the US “remains committed to working closely with the international community and using diplomatic, humanitarian and economic means to address the situation in Afghanistan and support the Afghan people”.

The White House readout did not give details of the American president’s own remarks at the G20 meeting.

Biden’s decision to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan in August paved the way for the Taliban to return to power, jeopardising the gains of the past 20 years, especially rights of women and minorities.

The US president has faced severe criticism from allies at home and around the world for having abandoned Afghanistan in a move that has been seen as being driven by domestic political expediency.

Warning that Afghanistan is facing “a make-or-break moment”, the UN chief has urged the world to prevent the country’s economy from collapsing. Secretary-general Antonio Guterres also appealed to the Taliban to stop breaking its promises to allow women to work and girls to have access to all levels of education.

He said the UN is urgently appealing to various governments to inject cash into Afghanistan’s battered economy.

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