A three-day G8 meeting in Trieste, Italy has drawn to a close with the focus on beating the Taliban insurgency along the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Yesterday, the G8’s foreign ministers and their Afghan and Pakistani counterparts affirmed their commitment to taking on humanitarian, economic and anti-drug and terrorism challenges. Regional aid donors discussed the statement on Saturday. Thursday was dominated by Iran and culminated in a statement “deploring” the recent post-election violence. Russia had objected to stronger language, warning it would be unwise to isolate the Islamic Republic. One of the biggest problems facing western troops in Afghanistan is the lucrative opium trade that funds the Taliban. The US is to abandon its policy of destroying crops, admitting this has been ineffective. Those at the G8 meeting proposed increasing border security and developing the local economy as alternatives. Delegates added that a fair and transparent Afghan presidential election in August was also crucial to improving security.