LONDON — Leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) nations have agreed on a roadmap for negotiations with the Taliban on providing Afghans a safe passage out of the country, according to the United Kingdom Prime Minister and meeting chair Boris Johnson.

Johnson’s remarks came during the virtual G7 meeting to discuss the situation of Afghanistan.

“What we’ve done today at the G7 is we’ve got together the leading Western powers and agreed, not just a joint approach to dealing with the evacuation, but also a roadmap for the way in which we’re going to engage with the Taliban, as it will probably be a Taliban government in Kabul,” Johnson said.

Johnson chaired the G7 leaders’ meeting on Aug. 24 and urged the member countries to continue to stand by the Afghan people and step up support for refugees and increase humanitarian aid.

He also reiterated that together with its partners and allies, the United Kingdom will continue to use every humanitarian and diplomatic lever to safeguard human rights and protect the gains made over the last two decades.

The meeting of G7 leaders comes after Johnson presided over a meeting of the Civil Contingencies Committee (COBR) on Aug. 23 afternoon in which ministers discussed the latest situation in Afghanistan.

As of that morning, the United Kingdom had evacuated close to 6,000 people out of Kabul since Operation Pitting began last week, which includes British Nationals and their dependants, embassy staff, and Afghan nationals under the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP) program.

The country has already doubled the amount of humanitarian aid to the region, committing up to £286 million with immediate effect, and last week a new bespoke resettlement scheme was also announced.

This program will be one of the most generous in British history and is set to relocate up to 20,000 vulnerable Afghans, said the release. 

During the G7 meeting, the European Union called on the new Afghan authorities to allow safe passage to everyone who wants to get to Kabul airport, European Council President Charles Michel said on Aug. 24 following the discussion of Afghanistan at a virtual G7 meeting.

“We are concerned about the ability to safely reach the Kabul airport,” Michel said.

“We call on the new Afghan authorities to allow safe passage to all foreign and Afghan citizens who wish to get to the airport.”

“We have also raised this issue with our American friends and partners on two particular aspects: First, the need to secure the airport as long as necessary to complete the operations, and second, a fair and equitable access for all nationals entitled to evacuation.” 

However, European leaders, including Johnson, have fallen short of convincing Joe Biden to extend the force-withdrawal deadline beyond Aug. 31 against the backdrop of an increasingly chaotic situation at Kabul airport, the last airstrip still in control of western troops since the Taliban overthrew the government and occupied the last frontier of the capital.

(With inputs from ANI)

Edited by Amrita Das and Krishna Kakani



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