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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Qatar to attend ‘extraordinary’ G20 meeting on Afghanistan

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The meeting is scheduled to take place on 12 October.

Qatar is scheduled to attend an upcoming “extraordinary” G20 meeting on Afghanistan, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, whose country currently holds the bloc’s rotating presidency, said on Wednesday.

“We have to see whether there are shared objectives among the G20 nations…we have reached a point where we only need to worry about saving lives,” Draghi told a news conference, calling on the international community to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a haven for militants.

The extraordinary meeting will be held ahead of the G20 summit, scheduled to take place in Rome from 30-31 October. The International Monetary Fund [IMF], the World Bank and the UN will also participate in the meeting

Italy had previously asked Qatar to move its Kabul embassy to Doha, joining other western countries in carrying out diplomatic operations from the Gulf state.

Countries including the Netherlands, the UK, Japan and the US have already made similar requests to Qatar.

Since the Taliban takeover in August, Italy has successfully evacuated 5,011 people, including 4,890 Afghans in the weeks-long airlift of people from Kabul. Among the Afghan evacuees were 1,301 women and 1,453 children.

This came after the Taliban captured control of Kabul on 15 August, triggering a mass exodus of Afghans desperate to flee a country facing decades of war, poverty and corruption.

Qatar has been playing a critical role in Afghanistan, mainly by facilitating dialogue between all parties throughout the Afghan peace process and hosting historic talks between the US and the Taliban.

On Wednesday, Dr. Mutlaq bin Majed Al Qahtani, Qatar’s Special Envoy of the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Counterterrorism and Mediation in Conflict Resolution, said that “the world should not overlook” the realities on the ground in Afghanistan.

Read also: Top US general admits ‘strategic failure’ in hasty Afghanistan withdrawal

His statement came in a meeting with the newly-appointed Taliban foreign minister, Amir Khan Muttaki in Kabul.

More recently, the Gulf country played a pivotal humanitarian role in evacuating Afghans and foreigners from the country following the Taliban’s takeover.

Since then, Doha has managed to evacuate over 50,000 people from the war-torn country while working to ensure Kabul’s airport is functional again.


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