Canada and G20 allies press Taliban to improve aid access, respect for human rights

Canada has joined its G-20 allies in pressuring Afghanistan’s new Taliban rulers to allow humanitarian aid to better reach the country’s suffering people.

During a virtual summit, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his fellow G20 leaders discussed the crisis in Afghanistan caused by the Taliban’s defeat of the Western-backed Kabul government.

The European Union came out of the summit on Tuesday announcing a $1.4 billion support package, about two-thirds of which is new money.

There was no indication of any renewed Canadian financial commitment following Canada’s announcement in August of providing an additional $50 million in humanitarian aid to international organizations assisting Afghanistan.

The financial assistance provided by Canada and its allies is channeled through international organizations such as the United Nations and the World Bank, and has not been sent directly to Afghan governments of any kind.

Watch | International Development Secretary Karina Gould talks about Canada’s commitment to humanitarian aid in Afghanistan

International Development Secretary said the Taliban understand the need for humanitarian aid

G20 leaders agreed to provide additional aid to Afghanistan, even if it means coordinating with the Taliban. International Development Secretary Karina Gould told Power & Politics that the Taliban understand the need for humanitarian aid. 8:49

A senior government official said Trudeau used speaking time at the G20 meeting to push for resettlement of Afghan refugees, noting that Canada had doubled down on its pledge last month to accept 40,000 asylum seekers.

The official provided details of Trudeau’s participation in the meeting on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak officially.

Trudeau joined other leaders in pressuring the Taliban to protect the basic rights of all Afghans, especially women.

The meeting was one of the first multilateral gatherings since Afghanistan collapsed in August after the withdrawal of US military forces, which ended two decades of Western military and political engagement with the country.

The Afghan economy is now on the verge of collapse and its people are facing severe food shortages.

Even before the country fell to the Taliban, Afghanistan was heavily dependent on foreign aid.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi hosted Tuesday’s meeting because his country currently holds the G20 presidency. The group’s members include the United States, China and Russia, and their leaders also attended the virtual summit.

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