Brdo Castle, Slovenia (Associated Press)-On Friday, EU officials laid out a series of conditions that define the level of engagement between the EU and the Taliban as the new ruler of Afghanistan, including respect for human rights and the rule of law.
Following the fall of the Afghan government last month, the 27-nation group and its member states have evacuated their diplomats from Afghanistan. But EU officials said that now that the Taliban are back in power, they are willing to cooperate with them.
The European Union is focusing on providing humanitarian assistance, ensuring that Afghan collaborators and employees left behind during the airlift from Kabul leave the country safely, and trying to prevent a large-scale outflow of refugees that could trigger another immigration crisis in Europe.
After Slovenia’s meeting with European Ministers of Foreign Affairs, the EU’s foreign policy chief Jose Puborel stated that in order to measure the goodwill of the Taliban, the EU will use several benchmarks.
These include ensuring that Afghanistan will not become a base for “exporting terrorism to other countries”, promising to provide free access to humanitarian aid, and complying with standards in the areas of human rights, the rule of law, and freedom of the press. .
“It is clear that the future of Afghanistan remains a key issue for us,” Borrell said. “It affects us, the region, and international stability, and it has a direct impact on European security.”
“At the same time, the ministers strongly insist that we will continue to work to support the idea of the Afghan people,” he said.
Borel emphasized that the European Union also hopes to see the formation of an inclusive transitional government in Afghanistan and the Taliban to fulfill their promises to allow foreigners and those whose lives are at risk to leave the country.
“Our participation will depend on the satisfaction of these conditions,” Borrell said.
The EU has suspended development assistance to the Afghan government, but has pledged to provide the country with approximately 1.2 billion euros (1.4 billion US dollars) in 2021-2024.
In order to ensure that EU nationals and Afghan staff are evacuated under the protection of member states, and to assess how the Taliban respect the EU’s conditions, Borel said that if the security conditions are met, the ministers agreed to establish a “joint EU presence” in Kabul.
The foreign ministers also recognized the need to coordinate with Afghanistan’s neighbors through the EU regional political cooperation platform aimed at stabilizing the entire region.
“This political platform will consider issues such as managing the movement of people from Afghanistan; preventing the spread of terrorism; and combating organized crime, including drug trafficking and human smuggling,” Borrell said.
Slovenia’s Foreign Minister Anze Logar, who currently holds the rotating EU presidency, said that such cooperation will try to “stop any future wave of immigration” from flowing into the EU.