G-7 foreign ministers to hold virtual meeting on Afghanistan

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Foreign ministers from the G7 group of advanced economies will discuss the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan by videoconference Thursday, setting the stage for a meeting of national G7 leaders early next week.

The G7’s current president — U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson — had voiced his intention to host such a leaders meeting in calls with other G7 leaders this week. His Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will first link up with his G7 counterparts in the virtual meeting Thursday to discuss international cooperation on Afghanistan, having already held two calls with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken this week.

In a statement to the U.K. House of Commons Wednesday afternoon, Johnson said Britain “will work to unite the international community behind a clear plan for dealing with this regime in a unified and concerted way.”

Governments across the G7 — which also includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States — have faced criticism over their attempts to coordinate following the fall of Kabul, as scrambled evacuation efforts continued in the days after the Taliban’s swift takeover on Sunday.

Chaotic scenes followed as Afghans fleeing the Taliban crowded onto military flights and filled Kabul’s airport runway. With large numbers of Afghans now seeking asylum and questions remaining over official recognition of the new Taliban regime, world leaders have called for greater international cooperation to greet these challenges.

Johnson himself spoke to Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi on Wednesday, following calls with U.S. President Joe Biden and France’s Emmanuel Macron earlier in the week. Johnson and Draghi agreed to work together to tackle the “urgent” evacuation of their nationals as well as Afghans in need, including those who had assisted Western forces. The U.K. has so far committed to accepting 5,000 Afghan refugees this year and a total of up to 20,000 over five years.

A No. 10 Downing Street spokesperson said: “We are now asking our international partners to match the U.K.’s commitments and work with us to offer a lifeline to Afghanistan’s most vulnerable people.”

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