Italy calls special G20 talks on Afghanistan

G20 meeting to be held two weeks before Rome summit.

Italian premier Mario Draghi has announced an extraordinary G20 meeting to discuss strategies to confront the crisis in Afghanistan since Kabul fell to the Taliban in August.

The virtual talks are scheduled on 12 October, two weeks before the leaders of the Group of 20 major economies attend a two-day summit in Rome at the end of the month.

The special meeting will address issues including humanitarian aid, security, human rights and combating terror in Afghanistan, Draghi said on Wednesday.

The extraordinary G20 talks will also see the participation of the Netherlands, Spain and Qatar in addition to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the United Nations.

"I believe it is the duty of the richest countries in the world to do something to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe," said Draghi who added that the summit would also seek to identify measures to stop Afghanistan from becoming a haven for militants. 

In late August, addressing the G20 Conference on Women's Empowerment, Draghi said the G20 must do all it could to help Afghan women keep their rights and freedoms, news agency ANSA reported.

"Afghan girls and women are set to lose their freedom and dignity, to return to the sad condition in which they found themselves 20 years ago" - Draghi said - "They risk becoming second-class citizens once more, victims of systematic violence and discrimination, for the sole fact of being women."

Italy holds the rotating presidency of the G20 this year. For details see website.