President Biden participated in a special summit with other Group of 20 leaders Tuesday to discuss the growing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan since the Taliban assumed control of the country in August.
The virtual summit opened with the European Union pledging a $1.2 billion aid package to the beleaguered country. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the aid package will help “avert a major humanitarian and socio-economic collapse” in Afghanistan.
In a statement, the European Union said the funds are “direct support” for Afghans and would be administered via international humanitarian organizations, not the Taliban government.
The funds build upon the nearly $355 million package the European Union approved in August for humanitarian aid. Some of those funds went to Afghanistan’s neighboring countries that were taking in those fleeing Taliban rule.
However, European development aid remains frozen because it doesn’t recognize the Taliban as a government.
Mr. Biden, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other European G-20 leaders took part in the summit. Chinese President Xi Jinping did not participate. As of Tuesday morning, it was unclear if Russian President Vladimir Putin would participate.
Italy, which holds the rotating presidency of the G-20 — a group of the world’s 20 largest economies — set up the meeting following August’s chaotic military withdrawal by the U.S.