Thursday, March 23, 2023

No recognition but EU engage with the Taliban

Our policy is clear when it comes to Afghanistan. We do not recognize the interim government, but we stay engaged with the Afghan people. Afghanistan is facing very severe humanitarian challenges and that is why we have increased our humanitarian assistance very significantly since last August. We have suspended development assistance through the government because we do not recognize it, but we do provide support to education and health through UN organizations. So this is part of response. 

We have decided not to isolate the country therefore we have engaged in a dialogue with the interim government around key issues that matters to us, that matters to Afghan and that matters to the European taxpayers, and they include human rights notably the rights of the women, safe passage for Afghans who need to leave the country, security guarantees and an inclusive government in Afghanistan. 

We do engage with the de facto authorities. When it comes to the humanitarian assistance, there is always a need for some minimal information they provided. This is the same all over the world. We do not provide humanitarian assistance through any government or any interim government but of course we need to negotiate access, we need to remind them the international humanitarian law. If there is a good thing that is also during the Islamic Republic, a lot of assistance being provided by the European Commission, by the European Union that went to areas that was outside the government control. So in another word, the Taliban know how we operate, respect in general our neutrality, impartiality and other principles of international humanitarian law and assistance. We push very strongly if and when attempts to control and have a say by the Taliban about the distribution of assistance. 

Afghan diaspora is extremely varied and its positions, in its knowledge, and its skills and what it wants in what is happening in Afghanistan. I do not want to underestimate the force and the power and the capacity of the diaspora. So the EU should listen and should be willing to engage but this is not for the EU to organize the diaspora. We are willing to be involved and willing to engage various initiative taken. We always say Afghan-owned, Afghan-led should also apply to the diaspora of Afghanistan. What is key to me and to many others and to people I spoke to in Kabul recently is the divide there, sometimes between the great majority of people who are still in Afghanistan and people who for various reasons who had to leave either long time ago or recently so you can narrow that gap so the conversation and exchange remain meaningful. 

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