Josep Borrell has often had a bad time in the European Parliament for defending pragmatism and dialogue with governments not very friendly to the European Union. And this Tuesday he has done it again. “The Taliban have won the war,” he said: “So we will have to talk to them.” In this way, the head of European diplomacy recognizes a truism – the Taliban have taken control of the country – and bets on the realpolitik – “we will have to talk to them” – for the many pending issues that concern Europe in Afghanistan – evacuation of the 400 Afghans who have worked for European institutions in the country, the fight against terrorism, respect for fundamental rights and humanitarian aid-.
NATO acknowledges that it failed to see the consequences of the withdrawal from Afghanistan: “We have been surprised by the speed of the collapse, it is a tragedy”
“I am not talking about an official recognition,” Borrell stressed this Tuesday after the meeting of foreign ministers of the European Union. In any case, as it happened recently with Juan Guaidó and Venezuela, it is the governments of the 27 separately that recognize or not other governments, not so much the EU as a whole: those competences belong to the member states.
Thus, the European Union assumes that it has to “get in touch with the Kabul authorities, wherever they are, to start a dialogue, as soon as necessary, to avoid a human and migratory disaster”.
“This dialogue should also focus on preventing the return of foreign terrorists into Afghanistan, something that certainly also ranks high on our agenda,” said Borrell: “We will deal with the Afghan authorities, as they are, while remaining at the same time. attentive to the respect of the international obligations accepted by the different Afghan governments for more than 50 years. And certainly, very high in our concern, the situation of women and girls. ”
But, in addition, Borrell has pointed out something fundamental in these hours: ensuring the exit of foreigners and people whose lives may be at risk because they have worked for the European institutions. And for that the EU needs the Taliban approval: “We have to organize a safe and orderly departure of foreigners and Afghans. For that, the airport is essential, but also to ensure the way in which these people can get to the plane.”
“This is not an official recognition, but I will have to speak with the Taliban authorities,” Borrell insisted: “Otherwise, it will be quite difficult to get to the airport. It will be a rather complicated logistics operation, so we have to talk with them and at the same time be very attentive to the respect of international obligations. And this includes, without a doubt, the respect of all the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council “.
For all this, Borrell has asked the Taliban “to respect their commitments”, also “when it comes to civilians and their properties”, and for “humanitarian aid” to arrive as there may be a “terrible situation in the coming months if the climate crisis leads to a food production crisis. ”
Thus, Borrell has stated 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 respecting Afghanistan’s international obligations regarding its commitment to fighting corruption and preventing the use of Afghanistan’s territory by terrorist organizations. ”
Precisely this Tuesday, Lailuma Sadid, a journalist for the newspaper ‘Brussels Morning’, has starred in a tense moment at a press conference after the NATO meeting to analyze the situation in Afghanistan. “Don’t you recognize that the decision made by the US or NATO was wrong?” The journalist, an Afghan national, began by asking, and later claimed: “Do not recognize the Taliban without conditions.”
A few hours later, Sadid also asked Borrell and asked that the EU not recognize the new regime in Afghanistan.
“I have not said that we are going to recognize the Taliban,” Borrell reiterated: “I have only said that we have to talk to them about everything, even to try to protect women and girls, even for that we have to contact them I have said that we are going to establish conditions to continue with the aid, and that we are ready to use all our pressure to ensure that human rights are respected. The European Union has not decided to leave Afghanistan, it has been a negotiated decision of President Trump with the Taliban, and this decision has been enforced by the next US administration [de Joe Biden]. What I can assure you is that we will do everything possible and use all our economic and political pressure to try to defend the people of Afghanistan, humanitarian aid and politics linked to the issue of human rights. ”
The Taliban: “Women, always within the Sharia”
The Taliban, in their first press conference in Afghanistan since taking power, tried to launch a message of unity on Tuesday after their resounding victory in the country, reports Efe.
“We do not want anyone to leave the country, this is their country, this is our common homeland, we have common values, a common religion, a common nation (…) There is a general amnesty, so there will be no hostilities,” said the principal. Taliban spokesman, Zabihulla Mujahid, who for the first time in decades showed himself in public: “After 20 years of struggle, once again we have emancipated our country and we have made it independent again, it is a moment of pride for the whole nation” .
However, the EU does not stop trusting. “Apparently they do the same, but they speak better English,” Borrell said.
“We will do everything we can to make sure everyone is part of the country, even those people who opposed us in the past, but wait until the announcements are made” for more details, Mujahid said during the massive round-up. press, where he insisted that the new government is still being negotiated.
In addition, he assured, the Afghan territory will not be used against anyone, and foreign “fighters” who want to attack other countries will not be allowed to enter the country.
One of the most repeated questions during the press conference was what will be the situation of women in the new Afghanistan under the Taliban, and in all of them the spokesperson repeated that women will be allowed to work and study, but within the framework of Islamic law. “We are going to allow women to work and study (…) women are going to be a very active part in society, but within the framework of Islam,” she stressed, since “women are needed and they are to allow to work “.
Mujahid remarked that “the issue of women is very important, Islam is committed to women’s rights within the framework of sharia (or Islamic law)” and women will be able to participate “in different areas based on our norms. and regulations “. “There will be no discrimination against women, but always within the margins that we have. Our women are Muslim and they are also happy to live within the framework of sharia,” the spokesman insisted.
The Taliban assured that in education and health, women “will be working shoulder to shoulder” with men. During the Taliban regime, between 1996 and 2001, women were confined inside the home and were not allowed to leave the house without the company of a man.
In relation to the media, he said that it will be seen what the presence of women in them will be. He also assured that Afghanistan will have “free and independent” media, although always under the framework of Islamic law.
He assured that the media should be “impartial” and journalists will be able to “criticize” the government’s work, which will allow them “to improve to serve the nation in a better way.”
Mujahid also referred in his speech to the cultivation of opium in Afghanistan, the world’s largest producer, and assured that they will fight it, despite the fact that in the past the international community has criticized the Taliban for taking advantage of these crops to finance the war. .