“The Taliban have won the war; we will have to negotiate with them,” Josep Borrell, head of European Union foreign affairs and security policy, said Tuesday (May 17) after meeting with ministers from the EU region. 27. member countries of the bloc.
Borrell said establishing a dialogue with the group was the only way to get around 380 Afghans and their families who worked in its institutions out of the country, in addition to an as yet unclear number of European citizens from different missions and agencies.
“It is not a question of recognizing the government, but of looking to the future and of dealing with the authorities, whoever they are, to obtain respect for human rights, in particular of women and children, and to so that terrorism is fought, ”she said.
A group that was synonymous with fundamentalist Islamic radicalism in the late 20th century, the Taliban overthrew the Afghan government last Sunday in a swift military campaign following the US withdrawal from the country.
The EU foreign minister said the collapse of the Afghan government and the Taliban takeover will have a “major impact on regional and international security”: “It is the most important event since the capture of Crimea by Russia, with great consequences for the Western world. ”.
According to Borrell, the West will have to reflect on the failure of two decades of intervention and investment in building a new society in the Asian country.
The fight against the al-Qaeda organization in Afghanistan was successful during this period, he said, but the nation-building process failed, “despite the enormous amount of resources coming in. in the country “.
The European Union, a major donor to Afghan development programs, has said these transfers are on hold, but humanitarian aid will be maintained.
The meeting also discussed how to prevent the Afghan crisis from dragging millions of refugees to the gates of Europe, as happened in 2015 and 2016.
The subject will be the subject of a new meeting this Wednesday between the interior ministers, which will also address the migration crisis in Lithuania and its neighbors, caused by what the bloc calls a “hybrid war” promoted by Belarus. .
According to Borrell, one of the ways to manage the Afghan migratory flow will be to support neighboring countries, such as Pakistan and Iran.
Outside the EU, Europeans like Albania and Kosovo have accepted a US request to accommodate Afghan refugees seeking asylum in North America on their territories.
When asked if he thought the Taliban today might be any different from those who were defeated 20 years ago, he replied that the takeover was still too recent to assess. “Apparently they are the same. But they speak better English, ”he added.
The group launched an offensive on Tuesday to be more tolerant, which included a TV interview with a presenter.
In another conversation with reporters, spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the Taliban wanted peace, denied retaliation against former adversaries and said women’s rights would be protected – as part of the Islam ”.