The consequences of the violent takeover of power in Afghanistan by the Taliban are still materializing, but we are monitoring the developments closely.
The humanitarian situation of the Afghan people is reaching crisis proportions and needs urgent attention. The EU has increased the humanitarian contributions almost fourfold, and the EU member states are also increasing their contributing to the humanitarian efforts. To ensure the assistance is delivered, we need the UN. The steadfast promise to “stay and deliver” is need and deeply appreciated.
Afghanistan is facing an economic and governance crisis which will only get worse if a functioning system of governance is not established quickly. The announcement of a caretaker cabinet by the Taliban this week showed no intention to ensure inclusion of other political stakeholders, minorities or, crucially, women.
The achievements from the past 20 years are under severe threat. This is not the time to disengage, but to continue our partnership with the people of Afghanistan, guided by our principles and values with the aim of assisting them.
The European Union will closely monitor the actions of the caretaker cabinet in Afghanistan and our engagement will be based on the actions taken by the Taliban. At last week’s meeting, the EU Foreign Ministers agreed on the following five benchmarks for engagement with the Taliban:
1. The commitment that Afghanistan will not serve as a base for the export of terrorism to other countries.
2. Respect for human rights, in particular women's rights, the rule of law and freedom of the media.
3. The establishment of an inclusive and representative transitional government through negotiations.
4. Free access for humanitarian aid, respecting our procedures and conditions for its delivery.
5. Allowing the departure of foreign nationals and Afghans at-risk who wish to leave the country in line with what was already decided by United Nations Security Resolution 2593.
In order to assess the actions of the Taliban, and to what extent the benchmarks are met, the EU has initiated plans for a joint presence in Afghanistan, provided that the security conditions for such a presence can be established. In this regard, we note with concern reports of the violation of evacuated foreign embassies by the Taliban in Kabul.
The EU will continue its operational engagement for the Afghan people, but this does not constitute political recognition of the Taliban or its caretaker government.
The political, humanitarian and economic consequences of the Taliban’s takeover of power will impact Afghanistan’s neighbours, our regional partners. The EU will continue, and strengthen, our engagement and assistance to help create capacity to receive Afghans who are leaving; to prevent the spread of terrorism; and to fight against organised crime, including drug- and human trafficking. We do this in close cooperation with the UN.
The EU will not abandon the Afghan people. We will continue to promote the principles and values that the state of Afghanistan itself has signed up to in international treaties and conventions. We expect these international commitments to be honoured and will hold those in power accountable for this.
The Taliban must now show that they are willing and able to establish meaningful relationships with the outside world, to conduct dialogue and to respect human rights. To give Afghanistan a safe and stable future, they must embrace the diversity of the people, engage in an inclusive form of governance and human rights, especially of minorities, women and children.