G7 leaders will meet virtually on Tuesday to discuss the Afghan crisis, according to Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a week after the Taliban retook power.
“It’s critical that the international community works together to facilitate safe evacuations, avoid a humanitarian crisis, and support the Afghan people in securing the accomplishments of the last 20 years,” Johnson wrote on Twitter.
I will convene G7 leaders on Tuesday for urgent talks on the situation in Afghanistan. It is vital that the international community works together to ensure safe evacuations, prevent a humanitarian crisis and support the Afghan people to secure the gains of the last 20 years.
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) August 22, 2021
The United Kingdom is the current chair of the Group of Eight affluent nations, which includes the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States, and Johnson has been pushing for a meeting for the past week.
Thousands of Afghans and foreigners are attempting to evacuate Kabul following the Taliban’s return to power, and the Western allies are facing rising criticism for their handling of the issue. Following a virtual meeting on Thursday, G7 foreign ministers urged the Taliban to facilitate safe passage for civilians fleeing the capital, in the bloc’s first official statement on the crisis.
In June, the G7 met in Cornwall, southwest England, for the first time in two years, to discuss the coronavirus and how to deal with China’s growing assertiveness. Since then, the Taliban has launched a statewide attack, surprising the West by recapturing much of Afghanistan in a matter of weeks, as the US and its allies ended their two-decade military presence in the country.
The US has set a deadline of August 31 to complete the airlifts after sending thousands of troops to temporarily guard the airport and assist in the evacuation of its citizens and Afghans who assisted them. Allies, including the United Kingdom, have expressed support for extending the deadline, which is likely to be a major topic of discussion at Tuesday’s meeting.