The president of the United States, Joe Biden, stands firm with the date of August 31. Something the Taliban also want: the last American soldier to leave the country within a week. But the European partners are not clear about it, because they suspect that, perhaps, there will not be enough time to complete the planned evacuations of the country, such as the access to the Kabul airport.
The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, stated in the press conference after the G7 videoconference meeting that he had conveyed to the President of the United States “the need to secure the airport, for as long as necessary, to complete the evacuations, and second, fair and equitable access to the airport. ” According to Michel, this is a “pressing priority”. But for now, Biden is sticking to August 31.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, host of the telematics summit, has called on the rest of the G7 to “intensify support for refugees and humanitarian aid.” Both aid and resettlement are crucial to “protect human rights and contribute to the stability of the region,” according to the British government. For the time being, however, the EU’s efforts will be based on helping neighboring host countries, rather than hosting refugees, as reported by the Presidents of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. . And that means that the EU will have to negotiate with Iran and Pakistan to manage the Afghan migration crisis before reaching Europe.
“The EU will do its part to support the security and adequate living conditions of Afghans fleeing their country,” Michel said. But how? “We will work with countries in the region, especially Iran, Pakistan and those in Central Asia to address different needs. International protection will be needed for those who suffer persecution and vulnerable groups. And EU Member States will contribute to this effort. international”. And he added: “We are determined to keep migration flows under control and EU borders protected.”
The leaders, during the meeting, have reiterated “their commitment to safeguard the advances in Afghanistan during the last 20 years”, although the Taliban have taken over the country in less than a week, “in particular with regard to education. of girls and the rights of women and minorities “.
In addition to human rights, the heads of government of the world’s major countries have said they are concerned about “the evacuation efforts at Kabul airport and the longer-term work to ensure a more stable future for Afghanistan and ensure that any new government is inclusive and meets its international obligations. ”
One of the problems that most plague the European partners is the August 31 limit, signed by the Taliban and the US for the definitive departure from the country of US troops, the extension of which the Europeans have demanded in recent days. Indeed, Britain, France and Germany have insisted on US President Joe Biden to extend his August 31 deadline for US withdrawal from the country, an extension that the Taliban do not want either.
However, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, German Defense Minister, has asked not to criticize the US for the withdrawal of troops, while there was no support in Europe to prolong the operation in Afghanistan. “Would everyone who is now so committed to Afghanistan supported a long and tough operation, probably with many victims?” He asks.
EU leaders are also particularly concerned about the risk of a large wave of migration from Afghanistan. This Thursday and Friday there will be meetings of the ambassadors of the 27 to the EU to address the matter, and a ministerial meeting for Justice and Home Affairs could be convened in the near future. ”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Our priority is to complete the evacuation of our citizens and the Afghans who have contributed to our efforts over the past 20 years. For the next phase, it is vital that we come together as an international community and agree on a long-term joint approach. We must coordinate our response to the crisis, reaffirm our commitment to the Afghan people and ask our international partners to support the UK’s commitments to support those in need. ”
“Together with our partners and allies, we will continue to use all humanitarian and diplomatic pressure to safeguard human rights and protect the gains made over the past two decades. The Taliban will be judged on their actions and not on their words,” Johnson said.
The meeting, which was held by videoconference, also included the secretaries general of the UN, António Guterres, and NATO, Jens Stoltenberg.
The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, also announced on Tuesday an “increase in humanitarian support for Afghans from 50 million euros to more than 200 million.” This humanitarian aid is in addition to the contributions of the EU Member States.
Conditions for relations with Kabul
Regarding the conditions for an institutional relationship with the new regime, community sources insist on a “peaceful and inclusive” start-up, first of all. In addition, there is “respect for human rights and, in particular for women and girls, but also for young people and vulnerable groups”, together with “commitment to the fight against corruption, preventing the use of the territory of Afghanistan by of terrorist organizations “.
The head of European diplomacy himself, Josep Borrell, stated recently after meeting with the EU foreign ministers, that “cooperation with any future Afghan government will be conditional on a peaceful and inclusive agreement, and respect for the fundamental rights of all Afghans, including women, youth and persons belonging to minorities, as well as the respect of Afghanistan’s international obligations regarding the commitment to the fight against corruption and the prevention of the use of the territory of Afghanistan by organizations terrorists “.
The 2015 crisis split the EU to the point where a global migration pact was not reached, not least because Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic rejected the mandatory quota system proposed by Brussels to ease pressure from countries of entry, such as Italy and Greece. The European Justice condemned Budapest, Prague and Warsaw, but basically they won the political debate, as the EU has ended up burying the quota mechanism in its new migration pact proposal. At the time, it closed an agreement with Turkey to outsource border control in exchange for 6,000 million, initiating a system that can be replicated with other countries.
Janesz Jansa himself, Slovenian Prime Minister and current EU president, has already shown his reluctance to host Afghan refugees.
A speech shared by the Austrian Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, who commands a coalition government between popular and green: “Austria has done a lot by hosting 44,000 Afghans. We have one of the largest per capita Afghan communities in the world, after Iran, Pakistan and Sweden. There are still big problems with integration and therefore we are against an additional fee. ”