G20 leaders hold virtual meet, ‘laser-focused’ on anti-terror efforts in Afghanistan

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G20 leaders holding a virtual summit on Afghanistan Tuesday are “laser-focused” on keeping the Taliban-ruled country from becoming a militant haven and on providing humanitarian aid, says a US readout on the meeting.

Leaders of the world’s major economies including US President Joe Biden, joined by representatives of the United Nations and key intermediary Qatar, “discussed the critical need to maintain a laser-focus on our enduring counterterrorism efforts, including against threats from ISIS-K,” a White House statement said.

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It was referring to the ISIS group’s offshoot in the region, a bitter rival of the Taliban that has staged a series of deadly attacks of late as it tries to destabilize the country’s new rulers.

It claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed 55 people last week in a Shia mosque.

The G20 leaders also discussed the need to provide safe passage for foreign nationals and “Afghan partners” with documentation who hope to leave Afghanistan, the US readout says.

The leaders also reaffirmed a commitment to provide humanitarian assistance directly to the Afghan people through independent international organizations, and “to promote fundamental human rights for all Afghans, including women, girls, and members of minority groups.”

The United States -- which completed a chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan in late August -- remains committed to “using diplomatic, humanitarian, and economic means to address the situation in Afghanistan and support the Afghan people.”

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