Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi thinks he is about to get Joe Biden’s support to hold a special G20 peace conference on Afghanistan Next month this will include major players in close contact with the Taliban, including China, Russia and Turkey.
Dragy, chair G20 A group of countries, which has been working on the plan for days, has been holding talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Italian prime minister is also expected to hold a phone call with the Chinese resident, Xi Jinping, this week.
Biden has told Rome that he is willing to talk to anyone, although there are some in his administration who see risks in seeking the support of Russia or China to counter a terrorist threat inside Afghanistan.
The broader meeting, on a larger scale than the one held in London under the auspices of the G7 and chaired by the United Kingdom this week, could be a strong signal that Taliban The world is united in its desire that the new regime at least prevent Afghanistan from becoming a launching pad for terrorist attacks again.
Biden has been described as open-minded about the meeting, although some Democrats may fear he has the ability to merely underscore the extent of the United States’ political and military decline and show that Washington needs the support of its opponents to prevent the revival of a terrorist network in Afghanistan. .
Although the G7 statement, issued by the British presidency on Tuesday, made recognition of the Taliban government conditional on its future behaviour, Italy He was relieved that the statement did not contain more provocative language, such as the explicit threat of sanctions against the Islamist group. The Italians fear that threats, unlike offers of partnership, at this point will reduce the chances of a coordinated approach involving Russia and China toward persuading the Taliban to form an inclusive government that respects human rights in some respects.
Speaking on Italian television, Italian Undersecretary of Defense Giorgio Moli, a fierce critic of Europe’s inability to act independently of the United States in Kabul, said: “I hope that Italy will propose at the G-20 a peace conference in which Russia and China will participate.”
An exact date and format for the G20 meeting, which is strongly backed by EU member states such as Germany and France, still has to be agreed upon, but is likely to be hypothetical and take place after the UN General Assembly in mid-September. By this time, the focus on evacuation will have faded, and more will be known about the Taliban’s consolidation of power and the deals they may have struck with jihadist groups.
Even this expanded group of states would exclude some of the region’s most powerful players: Pakistan, Iran, and Qatar.
The planned G-20 will go in person on October 30 in Rome.
The United Nations Security Council, in the wake of the US-Taliban deal in 2020, made a rare show of unity with its determination to demand the Taliban fight terrorism in Afghanistan. But Ibrahim Buhais, an advisor to the anti-conflict nonprofit Crisis Group, said there are some signs that this international united front may dissipate, adding: “We will see every country pursuing its own narrow interests.”
Different countries may also set different conditions for opening funds to the Taliban, with some limiting the terms of cooperation to combating terrorism and others insisting on including women’s rights.
Putin and Xi spoke by phone on Wednesday, and the two leaders, according to the Kremlin, “expressed their readiness to intensify efforts to combat the threats of terrorism and drug smuggling coming from Afghan territory.”
They also spoke of the “importance of bringing peace” to Afghanistan and “preventing the spread of instability to neighboring regions.” There was no mention of the G-20 meeting.
But neither Beijing nor Moscow is quick to recognize the Taliban yet, and they have their own demands, including fighting the Islamic State, the Pakistani Taliban, and controlling al-Qaeda.
The West must balance the financial set of carrots and sticks at hand, knowing that the collapse of an already reeling economy – one that is 80% dependent on foreign aid – may only impoverish the poorest and possibly fuel terrorism by turning Afghanistan into a pariah state. At the same time, it cannot support the Taliban before its repeated assertions of inclusiveness are tested against reality.
The World Bank said on Wednesday it had suspended payments, a week after the International Monetary Fund took the same step, blocking access to $460m (£334m). The Pentagon has halted all plans to spend $3.3 billion to support the now-defunct Afghan Army, along with about another $3 billion in training and equipping money that was not previously spent.
And last week, the US also froze billions of dollars in assets in US accounts with Bank Da Afghanistan (DAB), the country’s central bank. DAB has assets of $9.5 billion, most of which are located outside Afghanistan.
But in talks with the Taliban on Wednesday, the German envoy in Kabul, Markus Putzel, said humanitarian aid would return once the situation returned to normal. This is the second set of talks he is having with Taliban leaders. Arrangements will be needed to ensure that humanitarian aid can be sent through third parties, and not to the Taliban themselves, an issue discussed with the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres.
Draghi suggested that the aid previously sent to the now obliterated Afghan Defense Force be diverted to humanitarian aid. The United States and NATO pay about $4 billion (£2.9 billion) each year to fund Afghan forces.
Long-term issues such as restoring reconstruction aid will be more difficult to resolve for the G-20. Even with a friendly regime in Kabul, it has proven impossible for the United States to prevent the draining of its aid by corrupt politicians and warlords.
The head of the International Rescue Committee, David Miliband, said the G7 had not been vocal enough about aid and that 18.4 million Afghans were already highly dependent on aid, including 10 million children. He said: “The World Food Program has warned that essential food supplies may run out by October, as acute hunger is increasing across the country. The number of people made homeless by conflict jumped 53% from 360,000 to 550,000 in August alone. Attacks on aid workers and civilians have already been a hallmark of this crisis. This cannot continue.”