Brussels (Brussels Morning) The EU plans to keep open communications channels with the Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan and engage with the Islamist group, but it will not hurry in terms of recognising them as the legitimate rulers of the country in the near future.
According to European Commission Managing Director for Asia and Pacific, Gunnar Wiegand, any official relations with the Taliban would only be established if the group proves it is respecting human rights and providing unrestricted access to international aid workers.
Wiegand noted that the EU would nevertheless need to engage and communicate with the group, attempt to influence it and make use of any available leverage. He said it remains to be seen whether the Taliban will be able establish an effective government, but the starting point for the EU should be for the group to form an inclusive and representative transitional administration.
EU recognition of the Taliban will also depend on the future government allowing free passage to Afghan nationals wishing to leave the country, refraining from retaliation against those who aided foreign groups and institutions in the country or who worked for the former, Western-backed government, and on combating terrorist groups within its territory.
Wiegand revealed that the European Commission has already earmarked around 300 million euro, to be spent in the next two years, on humane resettlement of around 30,000 Afghan nationals, though he did not specify where the funds would be raised or how they would be spent.
Meanwhile, the collapse of the former Afghan government and the rapid fall of Kabul prompted fresh talks on establishing a joint European military force. After High Representative Josep Borrell called for the establishment of a European rapid reaction force earlier this week, European Council President Charles Michel also called on the EU to take action to be better prepared for military evacuations.
Speaking at the Bled Strategic Forum in Slovenia, Michel noted that the EU shouldn’t need another similar geopolitical crisis to realise the need for the Union to have greater decision-making autonomy and greater capacity for action in the world.