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G7 Leaders Vow 'Steadfast' Commitment To Afghanistan, Call For Inclusive Government

German Chancellor Angela Merkel takes part in the G7 meeting on Afghanistan from Berlin on August 24.

The Group of Seven (G7) advanced economies has pledged its "steadfast commitment" to the people of Afghanistan and expressing "grave concern" about the situation in the war-torn country following the seizure of power by the Taliban.

In a joint statement issued after a virtual emergency meeting on August 24, the leaders of the United States, Britain, Italy, France, Germany, Canada, and Japan called for "calm and restraint to ensure the safety and security of vulnerable Afghan and international citizens, and the prevention of a humanitarian crisis."

"The Afghan people deserve to live in dignity, peace, and security, reflecting the last two decades of their political, economic, and social achievements, in particular for women and girls," it said, stressing that the Taliban militants "will be held accountable for their actions on preventing terrorism, on human rights in particular those of women, girls, and minorities and on pursuing an inclusive political settlement in Afghanistan."

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said after the meeting that the G7 had agreed to press the Taliban to allow Afghans to leave the country after an August 31 deadline.

"The No. 1 condition we're setting as G7 is that they've got to guarantee right the way through, through August 31 and beyond safe passage for those who want to come out," he said.

The Taliban has insisted that the United States stick to its August 31 deadline to completely withdraw all its forces. Johnson said that deadline will not be extended.

He also suggested that the G7 could use "considerable leverage, economic, diplomatic, political" on the Taliban.

The G7 called on all parties in Afghanistan to "work in good faith to establish an inclusive and representative government," insisting that any future Afghan government "must adhere to Afghanistan's international obligations and commitment to protect against terrorism; safeguard the human rights of all Afghans, particularly women, children, and ethnic and religious minorities; uphold the rule of law; allow unhindered and unconditional humanitarian access; and counter human and drug trafficking effectively."

The G7 leaders also said that they "support the UN in coordinating the immediate international humanitarian response in the region, including unfettered humanitarian access in Afghanistan, and will contribute collectively to that response."

Their "immediate priority," they said, was to "ensure the safe evacuation of our citizens and those Afghans who have partnered with us and assisted our efforts over the past twenty years, and to ensure continuing safe passage out of Afghanistan."

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