British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called for an emergency meeting of the G7 countries in the wake of addressing the issue that concerned many countries across the world- Afghanistan. He wanted all countries to align with the way UK was supporting the cause and urged the leaders to discuss the situation. US President Joe Biden firmly stated that the US will finish the process of evacuation by 31st August without any delays.
As the world witnesses the chaos in Afghanistan, there have been many questions raised against the American President Joe Biden’s decision. At the G7 meeting chaired by the United Kingdom, the hope was that the American President Biden will be convinced to continue the presence of troops in Afghanistan for a little longer. However, after the meeting, it seemed clear that there will be no changes in the plan.
President Biden in his official address a few days earlier, clearly stated that the American intention to enter Afghanistan 20 years ago was not national building. It was just to make sure that Afghanistan will not be used as a base by Al Qaeda as a base to attack the United States.
At the address on 23rd August, he spoke about the situation in Afghanistan and said categorically that Afghans arriving in the US will be screened and once cleared will be welcomed in their new homes. He said that it was better if the process reached the final stage soon.
In order to address the grave situation, the United Nations Human Right Council Chief Michelle Bachelet held a special session to promote and protect human rights in Afghanistan. She suggested a dedicated mechanism to monitor the evolving human rights situation in Afghanistan. She added that the international human rights were immutable in any scenario and requested all countries to broaden the asylum and resettlement programmes, create safe pathways for Afghan refugees and migrants, to remember the obligations towards those seeking protection and also to use influences with Taliban for the encouragement of respect for human rights for all.
Despite the concerns, the G7 have decided to align with the US President’s plan. The German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated that there were no new dates for evacuation to end after the meeting. The Economic Times reported her saying that there were discussions between the countries to work for a civilian operated airport in Afghanistan after 31st August to continue the process of helping the refugees.
Before the meeting convened, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that he expected the international community to come together to agree for a joint approach which was long term oriented. In the past, both British Prime Minister and the French President expressed their disapproval of the manner and speed with with the US was withdrawing its troops. After the meeting, British Prime Minister Johnson vaguely said “You’ve heard what the President of United States has had to say. You’ve heard what the Taliban have said”. He added that there were plans to pull out thousands of more people but the situation at the airport was getting trickier.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had hinted that his country’s troops were ready to stay in Afghanistan longer to help the situation. After the G7 meet, he tweeted that his intention was to help as many people in as less time as possible.
The G7 countries in their virtual meeting intended to convince President Biden of extending the deadline and focus on the evacuation efforts, as citizens of several western countries are stuck.
But, Biden will follow the original plan and will complete the evacuation by 31st August. He said that the American soldiers were at risk which was increasing every day.
Policies Under Consideration
There have been considerations about possible course of action against Taliban. Britain spoke of the need for sanctions to curtail the economic aid in case Taliban continues to abuse civil liberties and human rights. British Prime Minister Johnson said that will keep a check on any rise of terrorism in the country. China has spoken against this describing the effort as unproductive and even counterproductive. Sanctions on Taliban will have repercussions on people of Afghanistan too.
There is also the issue of recognition of Taliban politically. The countries have been working on the issue to align together and decide about the political recognition of Taliban. That will define the status of the many foreign policies and future engagements with Afghanistan. US President Biden said that the future of any government in Afghanistan will depend on how they fulfil the international obligations. Germany said that more humanitarian aid for Afghanistan was a part of the responsibility of the countries all over the world.
The people in Afghanistan have faced a sudden transition in terms of their living conditions. The world is divided on the way ahead to engage with the Taliban. Taliban on the other hand have threatened of consequences if the deadline was extended. The G7 countries have resolved to continue to help the situation by means of supporting the refugees. Russia, China and Pakistan have displayed willingness to improve the situation in any possible way. As the end of the withdrawal reaches its final stage, the world is watching over the crisis and hoping things to improve.