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EU has no other option but to engage with Taliban, says top official; terms Afghanistan events ‘a tragedy’

kabul, taliban, european union
Image Source : AP

Vehicles drive past a mural paying homage to late Taliban founder Mullah Mohammad Omar, left, and the late founder of the feared Haqqani network, Jalaluddin Haqqani, in Kabul

The European Union has no other option but to engage with the Taliban regime in Afghanistan if it wants to influence events in the country, said EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Tuesday. However, Borrell underlined at a European Parliament plenary session debate in the French city of Strasbourg that engagement does not mean recognition, Xinhua reported.

Describing the summer’s events in Afghanistan as “a tragedy,” he insisted that engagement is a priority for the EU to continue protecting as many people as possible.

“To have any chance of influencing events, we have no other option but to engage with the Taliban. Engagement does not mean recognition. No, engaging means talking, discussing, and agreeing — when possible,” he said.

Regarding the situation on the ground in Afghanistan, Borrell said it was “dramatic”, adding the European Commission has quadrupled its aid from 50 to 200 million euros.

Recently, the European Union said that it will continue to coordinate with the UN and its agencies on the stabilisation of Afghanistan, ensure that humanitarian aid reaches vulnerable populations and for this purpose, will also step up financial support.

Following the Taliban takeover of Kabul in mid-August, the situation in Afghanistan has been dominating the international agenda, with key global and regional powers trying to find ways to ensure stability and security in Central Asia.

Last week, Gunnar Wiegand, the European Commission’s managing director for Asia and the Pacific said that the European Union is in no hurry to recognise the Taliban nor to establishing official relations with the group.

“We need to communicate with the Taliban, we need to influence the Taliban, we need to make use of the leverages that we have but we will not rush into recognizing this new formation nor to establishing official relations,” Wiegand had said at a joint session of the European Parliament’s committees with the delegation for relations with Afghanistan.

(With ANI inputs)

Also Read | Qatar says will not take responsibility for Kabul airport without ‘clear’ agreements with Taliban

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