G20 leaders pledge support for Afghanistan

World leaders met virtually on Tuesday to discuss how to address the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

This was the first such meeting of G20 leaders since the Taliban seized control in August.

Two months on and the country is facing economic collapse - banks are running out of money, civil servants have not been paid and food prices have soared.

All agreed that ordinary Afghans desperately needed help but most states are reluctant to formally recognise the new Taliban government.

While much of the aid effort will be channelled through the United Nations, there will still be some direct country-to-country assistance.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi chaired the summit:.

"It is very hard to see how one can help Afghan people, which is a big number, and Afghanistan is a big country, without some sort of involvement of the Taliban government, of de facto government, let's call it this way, very difficult to begin with to bring the necessary aid. I mean if they don't want us to enter, we don't enter. So, this is the degree of involvement which as I said doesn't imply at all recognition, recognition is a political decision."

This was the first multilateral response to the Afghanistan crisis but two leaders were noticeably absent.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin did not dial in, suggesting differing international positions on the emergency.

Ahead of the meeting, China demanded that economic sanctions on Afghanistan be lifted and that billions of dollars of Afghan international assets be unfrozen.

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