EU to engage with Taliban, subject to conditions – foreign policy chief

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The European Union will engage with the Taliban, subject to strict conditions, but that does not mean the bloc is recognising a new Afghan government, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Friday.

“In order to support the Afghan population, we will have to engage with the new government in Afghanistan, which doesn’t mean recognition. It’s an operational engagement,” he told a news conference.

He said this engagement would increase depending on the behaviour of the government, such as Afghanistan not serving as “a base for the export of terrorism to other countries” and respecting human rights, the rule of law and the media.

Afghanistan would also have to form an inclusive, representative transition government, allow free access to humanitarian aid and allow foreign nationals and Afghans at risk to leave the country.

EU AIMS FOR KABUL PRESENCE TO COORDINATE ENGAGEMENT WITH TALIBAN

The European Union aims to coordinate its contacts with the Taliban through a joint EU presence in Kabul to oversee evacuations and to ensure that a new Afghan government fulfils commitments such as on security and human rights,

“We have decided to work in a coordinated manner, to coordinate our contacts with the Taliban, including through a joint European Union presence in Kabul… if the security conditions are met,” Borrell said in a statement.

The EU would also seek to coordinate engagement with partners in the region in areas such as migration flows and organised crime.