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G-20 Leaders Meet To Discuss Humanitarian Aid For Afghanistan

World leaders are trying to coordinate humanitarian relief while keeping security concerns in mind.
Posted at 1:51 PM, Oct 12, 2021

President Biden met virtually with world leaders from the G-20 to address the spiraling crisis in Afghanistan. They're trying to coordinate humanitarian relief, while keeping security concerns in mind.

The European Union warned that humanitarian aid for Afghans won't suffice in itself to keep hunger at bay as winter approaches after the bloc announced a support package worth $1.15 billion Tuesday.

The EU support package, which includes $346 million that had been committed earlier, will be targeted at the Afghan population only and neighboring countries, which have been the first to provide immediate aid.

Beyond such humanitarian aid, EU development aid to the country remains frozen since the Taliban took power in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. The EU remains careful not to legitimize the Taliban interim government.

“But the Afghan people should not pay the price of the Taliban’s actions,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said. “This is why the Afghan support package is for the Afghan people and the country´s neighbors who have been the first in providing them with help.”

The aid comes as the United Nations is warning that the Afghan economy is on the verge of collapse and urging countries to inject cash. Afghanistan, which before the Taliban takeover was dependent on international aid that accounted for 75% of state spending, is grappling with a liquidity crisis as assets remain frozen in the U.S. and other countries, and disbursements from international organizations have been put on hold.

In a video address to the online summit, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the international community should keep the channels of dialogue with the Taliban open in order to “patiently and gradually steer” it toward establishing a more inclusive administration.

He repeated that Turkey, which already hosts more than 3.6 million Syrians, can't burden an influx of migrants from Afghanistan, warning that European nations would also be affected by a new wave of migrants.

Erdogan proposed the creation of a working group on Afghanistan within the G-20 and said Turkey was willing to head such a grouping.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press.