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Thursday, October 28, 2021

Qatar’s amir attends G20 meeting as EU announces major aid package for Afghanistan


Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani attended the meeting.

The EU pledged a $1.2 billion aid package for Afghanistan “to avert a major humanitarian and socio-economic collapse” during an extraordinary G20 meeting attended by Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani on Tuesday.

“We must do all we can to avert a major humanitarian and socioeconomic collapse in Afghanistan. We need to do it fast,” EU Chief Ursula von der Leyen said at the virtual summit.

The aid package would add €250 million to an initial €300 million previously announced by the EU to provide much-needed humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan. Some of the funds are expected to go to neighbouring countries accepting Afghan refugees.

“We have been clear about our conditions for any engagement with the Afghan authorities, including on the respect of human rights. So far, the reports speak for themselves. But the Afghan people should not pay the price of the Taliban’s actions,” she said.

Intra-Afghan talks in Doha stopped after Ghani fled Afghanistan: Qatari official

The virtual G20 meeting was hosted by Italy and witnessed the attendance of Qatar’s amir, whose country has been playing a pivotal mediating role in Afghanistan.

In his statement, the Qatari leader echoed his country’s keenness “on ensuring the brotherly Afghan people to live under peace and stability”.

Sheikh Tamim also said the international community bears a responsibility to support Afghanistan, calling for dialogue rather than isolation.

In a tweet, Amir Tamim also stressed the importance of “finding a unified international position and a road plan that balances the responsibilities and duties entrusted to the Afghan caretaker government and the international community’s expectations of it”.

He added that the balance should be achieved without imposing “guardianship over the country.”

“Before giving advice and setting conditions, it must be considered that the state institutions in Afghanistan have collapsed and must be relaunched,” said Sheikh Tamim during his speech.

As countries continue to isolate Afghanistan due to its new government, Sheikh Tamim said this “has proven that isolation leads to polarisation of positions, sharp reactions” noting a solution through dialogue is essential.

In what also seemed to be a direct message to the new Afghan government, the amir referenced Qatar’s governance, which “takes Islamic Sharia as a source for its legislation, and in it women have held the position of ministers, judges and other public positions”, noting “societies cannot be promoted in Islamic countries with half of the society suspended from work and education.”

The International Monetary Fund [IMF], the World Bank and the UN were also among the participants of the meeting, which was held on ahead of  the G20 summit scheduled for 30-31 October.

Since the Taliban captured control of Afghanistan on 15 August, Doha has managed to evacuate more than 50,000 people from the war-torn country while working to ensure Kabul’s airport resumes its operations.

Qatar has also been delivering aid in efforts to alleviate a looming humanitarian crisis that is threatening the lives of millions of Afghans following decades of war and drought.

Winter raises a particular concern for Afghans, especially those who are internally displaced.

UN humanitarian chief in Afghanistan, Ramiz Alakbarov previously said about one third of the country’s population of 38 million does not know whether they will have a meal every day.

This echoes previous concerns raised by the World Food Programme [WFP], which said at least $200 million is needed in order to feed people in Afghanistan.

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