Foreign ministers and heads of the states from the G-20 (comprising 19 countries and the European Union) – the world’s leading economies – agreed at a video conference Tuesday to look at ways to provide aid to Afghan people. The dialogs came after Antonio Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, warned that the economy of Afghanistan is approaching a humanitarian disaster.
Before the G-20 leaders’ meeting, Guterres said that if G-20 countries don’t act and help the Afghan people, they and all the world will pay a heavy price. Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi hosted the meeting, and it marked the first time the wealthiest countries of the world had met to discuss the costs of the United States pullout from Afghanistan and the Taliban takeover on 15th August.
Without their rights protected, without food and jobs, the world will see more and more Afghan people fleeing their homes searching for a secure and better life. Moreover, the flow of illicit drugs, terrorist and criminal networks will also increase. As the meeting began, Guterres tweeted that the Afghanistan economy was breaking down. Essential services like healthcare and banks are closing in several places. Afterward, he urged the international community to take action and inject liquidity into the economy of Afghanistan to avoid collapse.
The economy of Afghanistan is breaking down.
Banks are closing and essential services, such as healthcare, have been suspended in many places.
I urge the world to take action and inject liquidity into the Afghan economy to avoid collapse.
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) October 12, 2021
$1.15 Billion Aid Package for Afghanistan
During the summit, the EU announced a $1.15 billion aid package for the people of Afghanistan to avert a major socioeconomic and humanitarian collapse. However, summit leaders stressed how risky life is for the majority of Afghans. Besides exploring how to provide instant humanitarian support for the population of Afghanistan, the leaders conversed the fight against global terrorism and how to encourage the Taliban leaders to allow freedom of movement inside Afghanistan and free passage for Afghan people who want to leave the country.
The recent United Nations figures suggest that over a half million Afghan nationals displaced amid the fighting alone this year, nearly seventeen million are facing crisis levels of food insecurity, and around half of all kids under five were malnourished after the conflict COVID-19 pandemic and drought.
Aid Stopped, Funds Frozen
Before the Taliban leaders seized control of Afghanistan in mid-August, three-fourths of the public expenditure of Afghanistan came from international aid agencies and other nations. International aid accounted for forty-three percent of the gross domestic product of Afghanistan, and so far, done for the last two decades. However, nations across the world refrained from recognizing the current Taliban government, and as a result, international funds have been frozen.
The United States froze 9.5 billion dollars of Afghanistan in reserves in American banks after the Kabul seizure of the Taliban. Until the unfroze of the Afghan funds and reserves, it will be impossible to stop an economic disaster in the country. As a result, it will worsen the humanitarian crisis unfolding and make for additional gloom for the people of Afghanistan, which endured the last two decades of poverty and violence, independent analysts and United Nations agencies warned.
Last month, the World Health Organization (WHO) projected that below one-fifth of the public facilities of Afghanistan were operational. Furthermore, the Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi told reporters human rights had a significant topic of discussion among the G-20 leaders. Everyone focused on the rights of minorities and women. For example, world leaders have to make sure women have access to education.
International Community Caught in a Dilemma
The global community is caught in a dilemma. To recognize the risks of the Taliban government condemning a large number of Afghan children, women, and men to brutal suppression and, for some, possible death, along with mocking the basic human rights and the rule of law which the United States and its partners sought to promote in the country, and internationally, as keystones of values-based foreign policies, according to deputy director of U.K.’s Chatham House research group, Renata Dwan.
She says official recognition of a Taliban-led interim government is simply not an option, even for those countries maintaining a diplomatic presence in Afghan capital like Pakistan, Iran, Russia, and China. On Tuesday, the G-20 leaders discussed how efficiently to deal with the Taliban government and find the best way out of the dilemma. In short, how to push cash into Afghanistan while trying to persuade the Taliban leaders to follow the human rights obligations and not seem to be planning in Islamist repression or endorsing the insurgents in any way.
G-20 leaders also debated one fundamental challenge, how they can deliver humanitarian aid without supporting the insurgent’s government or allowing the group to manipulate it to serve their political plans or channel assistance to supporters and deny it to opponents or minorities. Additionally, leaders said that Taliban leaders did very little to suggest they moderated or changed their views toward women or rivals since they ruled Afghanistan in the late 1990s.