EU foreign policy chief urges Afghan government to work with Taliban

European Union foreign policy chief Borrell speaks at the presidential palace in Baabda
FILE PHOTO: European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell speaks at the presidential palace in Baabda, Lebanon June 19, 2021. Dalati Nohra/Handout via REUTERS

August 12, 2021

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The Afghan government should engage with the Taliban to reach an inclusive settlement, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Thursday as the militant group made rapid gains amid spiralling violence and worries of a refugee crisis.

“We encourage the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to settle political differences, increase representation of all stakeholders and engage with the Taliban from a united perspective,” Borrell said in a statement.

He said a peaceful and inclusive settlement and respect for the fundamental rights of all Afghans, including women, youth and minorities, were key to the European Union’s continued support for Afghanistan.

The Taliban, since beginning a broad offensive in May, have made swift and violent advances that are further loosening the Afghan government’s hold on the country.

Borrell called on the Taliban to immediately resume substantive, regular and structured talks, an immediate halt to the violence and a comprehensive, permanent ceasefire.

“These continued attacks are causing unacceptable suffering to Afghan citizens and are increasing the number of internally displaced and those leaving Afghanistan in search of safety,” he said.

Borrell warned that the Taliban would face non-recognition, isolation, lack of international support and the prospect of continued conflict and instability in Afghanistan if they take power by force and re-establish an Islamic Emirate.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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