EU says no recognition of Taliban, no political talks

European Union has not recognised Afghan Taliban nor is it holding political talks with the group, says EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, a week after Taliban’s lightning takeover of Afghanistan.

President of EU Commission Ursula Von der Leyen speaks as she attends a news conference at Torrejon Air Base in Torrejon de Ardoz, near Madrid, Spain, on August 21, 2021. (Reuters)

The European Union has not recognised the Taliban, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said, nor is it holding political talks with the group, a week after they seized control of Afghanistan.

The head of the EU executive spoke after visiting a reception centre in Madrid for Afghan employees of EU institutions evacuated from Kabul.

“We need to help. Not only the Afghans arriving here in Spain, but also those who have remained in Afghanistan. The EU is firmly committed to continue supporting the NGOs operating in the country,” she said.

The Taliban completed a lightning takeover of Afghanistan on Sunday [August 15], walking into the capital Kabul without firing a shot.

Conditional development aid

Von der Leyen said she would propose an increase in the 57 million euros ($67 million) in humanitarian aid which the Commission had allocated this year for Afghanistan.

She said EU development aid is tied to respect of human rights, good treatment of minorities and respect for the rights of women and girls.

“We may well hear the Taliban’s words but we will measure them above all by their deeds and actions,” von der Leyen told a news conference.

She said the Commission was ready to provide funding to EU countries which help resettle refugees, and she planned to raise the resettlement issue at a G7 meeting next week.

After a peak in 2015 when more than one million migrants came to the EU, mostly from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, the EU has cut the number of arrivals thanks to a deal with Turkey which receives EU funds to host asylum seekers in its territory.

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