Lisa Nandy 'we have no choice' but to engage with Taliban
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EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell announced that the bloc will not fully recognise the Taliban government but insisted the decision was needed to support Afghan people. He suggested that engagement would depend on the Taliban meeting a number of EU demands. These include preventing Afghanistan from becoming a “base for the export of terrorism to other countries” and respecting human rights, the rule of law and free media.
Mr Borrell said: “We have decided to work in a co-ordinated manner, to co-ordinate our contacts with the Taliban, including through a joint European Union presence in Kabul… if the security conditions are met.”
The EU outpost in Kabul is “the first practical thing to do if we want to reach out… to the new Afghan government,” the Spaniard added.
It comes after some EU states have privately called for a swift return to a physical diplomatic presence in the Afghan capital.
The announcement came after Kabul’s airport was partially reopened after it was abandoned by US-led western forces.
Afghanistan’s national carrier, Ariana, has resumed some domestic flights and medical supplies are arriving from the United Arab Emirates.
A technical team from Qatar is on the ground assisting with airfield operations but no announcements have been made on the resumption of international flights.
Russia and China are also moving to enhance ties with the Taliban government in Afghanistan.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week that Moscow wanted the Islamist group to “join the family of civilised nations”.
“Russia has no interest in the disintegration of Afghanistan,” he added.
Moscow has not yet signalled whether it will officially recognise the Taliban, but it has flirted with the group for years through its embassy in Kabul.
Russian diplomats remained in position as western countries evacuated their envoys.
China has also promised Taliban leaders that Beijing will maintain its embassy in Kabul and increase humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, according to a Taliban spokesman.
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Suhail Shaheen said: “Our relations would be beefed up as compared to the past.”
The Taliban has announced plans to hold talks with western governments as it cements itself as an “inclusive government”.
Abdul Was Baheer, a civil society leader from the Taliban’s spiritual heartland Kandahar, said the group wanted to win diplomatic recognition from countries that have closed their embassies.
He said: “They want the diplomats to return.
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“They want to pave the way for talks with the West.”
Western governments have been holding talks with leaders of the Taliban’s political office in Doha.
Markus Potzel, Germany’s ambassador to Afghanistan, said he held a “constructive meeting” with Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, deputy director of the Taliban’s political office.
Simon Goss, the UK’s special envoy for Afghanistan, also met with the Taliban chief last week.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said while the UK won’t recognise the Taliban as a government, London will need to communicate with the movement.
“We do see the importance of being able to engage and have a direct line of communication,” he said.
“No one wants to see the economic and social fabric of Afghanistan collapse.”
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