G20 Leaders Pledge to Distribute Aid to Afghanistan to Avert Humanitarian Crisis

Leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) major economic powers pledged to distribute aid to Taliban-led Afghanistan to avert a humanitarian crisis.

During a virtual summit on Oct. 12, the G20 leaders reaffirmed their “collective commitment” to provide humanitarian assistance directly through the Afghan people, the White House announced in a statement.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters that Afghanistan should not be allowed to “descend into chaos,” reaffirming Germany’s pledge of €600 million ($693 million).

“To look on as 40 million people descend into chaos because there’s no electricity supply or financial system, that cannot and must not be the goal of the international community,” Merkel said, according to BBC News.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen pledged an Afghan Support Package worth around €1 billion ($1.15 billion).

The United States also pledged nearly $64 million in additional humanitarian aid, bringing the total amount of donations to $333 million, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said at a press briefing.

“We will continue to take steps to alleviate the suffering of the Afghan people and call on other donors to step up their contributions to help deliver critical assistance,” Psaki said.

According to an official summary of the meeting, the leaders “strongly” support the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan in its role of coordination of international aid and invited the World Bank to explore ways to redirect support to international agencies in the war-torn country for humanitarian efforts.

The leaders also discussed in the meeting how to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a haven for other terrorist groups, such as Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.

G20 also said that it supports efforts on keeping the Kabul international airport wholly operational to provide a safe passage for foreign nationals and Afghans who hope to leave.

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