Brussels (Brussels Morning) EU High Representative Josep Borrell has called on the Afghan authorities to enter negotiations with the Taliban in order to end hostilities He also warned the Islamic insurgents that the country would face international isolation should they win power by force.
Borrell called on the Taliban to halt the ongoing violence immediately and reach a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire. He also urged the Taliban to resume structured talks with the Afgan authorities and stop causing “unacceptable suffering” to Afghan citizens.
Borrell emphasised that the EU wishes to continue its partnership with Afghanistan and provide support to the Afghan people. However, this support would depend on a “peaceful and inclusive settlement and respect for the fundamental rights of all Afghans”, he said. Stressing that it was imperative the gains made regarding the rights of women and girls should be preserved, he cited the need to ensure their continued access to education in particular.
The HR warned the Taliban that, if they take power by force and re-establish an Islamic Emirate in the country, they would face non-recognition, isolation, lack of international support, and the prospect of continued conflict and protracted instability.
The Taliban insurgents have managed to capture 11 provincial capitals in as many days, coming within 150 kilometres of the capital, Kabul. US intelligence analysts now estimate that the capital could be surrounded in as little as 30 days, and that it could fall to the Taliban within the next 90 days, given that the Afghan regular army appears to be collapsing faster than anyone had previously expected.
Even as the US prepares to finalise its withdrawal from the country, Washington decided on Thursday to send a quick reaction force of about 3,000 troops to Kabul within 48 hours. The force is tasked with securing the evacuation of embassy staff, since ongoing negotiations with the Taliban have failed to yield assurances of security for diplomats stationed in the capital.