EU Met With Taliban to Discuss Diplomatic Presence in Kabul
(Bloomberg) -- The European Union is working on how to provide security for a limited EU diplomatic presence in Kabul after the Taliban made clear in meetings they would welcome such a move, according to an internal EU memo.
The memo, seen by Bloomberg News, says the protection of facilities and convoys is the most complicated issue to sort out and that the return of any officials would not mean recognition of the Taliban government.
EU ambassadors were briefed Wednesday on meetings with the Taliban after the bloc’s Afghanistan envoy visited Qatar. The EU made clear that it would continue working to send a limited number of personnel in Kabul mostly to address evacuations and the delivery of humanitarian aid. In the meantime, EU outposts in Qatar and Pakistan would continue to act as the bloc’s hubs for Afghanistan, according to the memo.
Several member states said it was key to maintain a presence, while others warned that it was important not to give the impression that the EU was formally recognizing the Taliban government, the document shows. The EU told the diplomats that the bloc needed to accept that it would have to rely on and talk to the Taliban for security-related issues.
The diplomats were also told that the Taliban were inclined to provide landing permits to the EU but asked to be informed in advance of any flights. The group also gave assurances that it wouldn’t target female humanitarian workers in the country. There have been multiple media reports of women being harassed and attacked in Afghanistan since the Taliban took over.
Enabling humanitarian corridors is one of several conditions the EU has set for unfreezing aid to Afghanistan. The memo describes the financial situation in the country as very worrying and says there is a real risk of an economic collapse and a surge in migration flows.
The document says that between EU nationals and eligible Afghans, there are some 3,500 people that still need to be evacuated from Kabul.
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