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EU to 'engage' with Taliban government to secure evacuation of Afghan collaborators

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
European High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell gives a statement at a meeting of EU foreign affairs ministers in Slovenia on September 2, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

The European Union (EU) says it will "engage" with an expected government in Afghanistan to evacuate the Afghans who collaborated with foreign invaders and who now want to leave the country, as the Taliban plan to form a new government.

Following a meeting of the bloc's foreign ministers in Slovenia on Friday, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said member countries "have to engage with the new government in Afghanistan" to ensure the departure of the Afghans who were left behind as foreign evacuation operations ended at the end of last month.

Borrell, however, said that "doesn't mean recognition, it's an operational engagement."

"This operational engagement will increase depending on the behavior of this government," he added.

Borrell said that the Taliban must live up to their commitment to allow foreign nationals and the Afghans at "risk" to leave the country.

The Taliban took control of Afghanistan on August 15, weeks after their fighters intensified their offensives and rapidly overran major cities across the country as the United States started a withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan.

The US and its NATO allies launched a joint military operation in recent weeks to speedily evacuate foreign citizens and their Afghan allies.

The last American soldiers departed Afghanistan on Monday, ending a war that had begun in 2001.

Many Afghans willing to flee and some foreign nationals were left in the country as the evacuation operations were clumsily handled and swiftly shut down.

UN resumes humanitarian flights to parts of Afghanistan

The United Nations (UN) said on Friday that it had restarted humanitarian flights to parts of Afghanistan, linking the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, with Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan and Kandahar in the south.

Afghanistan's main airport, in Kabul, remains closed, after the last of the US troops left Kabul.

NATO seeks more evacuations

NATO says it will seek to evacuate more Afghans as the Taliban have said the airport would reopen in days.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said that the military alliance would also seek to maintain contact with the Taliban.

Stoltenberg, however, said any diplomatic recognition of a Taliban government would be determined by its actions. He said the Taliban needed to make good on their promises to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for international terrorists, as well as pledges on human rights, especially the rights of women.

The US and its NATO allies alleged at the time of the invasion of Afghanistan that the Taliban were harboring al-Qaeda, which had claimed responsibility for the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York.


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