G20 agrees to direct humanitarian aid for Afghans: White House

The leaders of the G20 major economic powers reaffirmed their "collective commitment" to ensuring the continued flow of humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan's people, the White House announced Tuesday, Anadolu Agency reports.

They agreed aid should flow to Afghans "through independent international organizations" in order "to promote fundamental human rights for all Afghans, including women, girls, and members of minority groups," the White House said in a statement following a virtual G20 summit.

"The United States 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," it added.

The reference to independent non-governmental organizations comes as the international community wrestles with how to provide aid to Afghanistan following the Taliban's takeover in August. The US and its allies have emphasized that any aid should not end up in the hands of the Taliban.

The announcement comes as Afghanistan faces an economic crisis that is affecting half of the country's population, or about 18 million people. The country had been strongly subsidized by international assistance for the past two decades of the US occupation.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed to the international community on Monday to provide Afghanistan with badly-needed liquidity to prevent the nation from falling into full-scale collapse. He maintained, however, that ultimately the responsibility for "finding a way back from the abyss lies with" the Taliban.

Guterres said 80% of Afghanistan's economy is informal with women playing "a preponderant role.” The Taliban, meanwhile, have failed to uphold their promises to maintain women's rights, the UN chief said as he appealed to Afghanistan's rulers to fulfill their obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law.

In addition to discussing Afghanistan's deepening economic woes, G20 leaders also "discussed the critical need to maintain a laser-focus on our enduring counterterrorism efforts, including against threats from ISIS-K, and ensuring safe passage for those foreign nationals and Afghan partners with documentation seeking to depart Afghanistan," the White House said.

It was referring to the Afghanistan affiliate of the Daesh/ISIS terror organization.


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