Taliban asks EU for help with Afghanistan’s airports

Taliban asks EU for help with Afghanistan's airports

Nov 29, 2021: According to an EU statement late Sunday, the Taliban requested help in running Afghan airports during talks with EU officials over the weekend, which focused on the humanitarian situation in their country.

The two sides sent senior officials to the Qatari capital, Doha, for talks, two weeks before talks between the United States and the Taliban began on Monday.

The EU’s European External Action Service (EEAS) said in its statement that “the dialogue does not imply recognition by the EU of the interim (Taliban) government but is part of EU’s operational engagement, in the interest of the EU and the Afghan people”.

The Taliban delegation was led by caretaker Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, along with interim ministers of education and health, acting central bank governor and officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Finance and Interior and the Intelligence Directorate.

The EU side was headed by the EU special envoy for Afghanistan Tomas Niklasson, with officials from the EEAS and the European Commission’s service handling humanitarian aid, international partnerships, and migration.

The European Union (EU) has said in a statement that the Taliban will continue to deliver on its promise of a “general amnesty” for Afghans who worked against the current administration in and its allies in two decades of Western rule.

The Taliban also reiterated their commitment to allow Afghans and foreigners to leave if they wished, but “asked for help in maintaining the operation of the airports” so that this could happen. “Both sides expressed grave concern over the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan as winter approaches,” the statement said, adding that the European Union would continue to provide humanitarian assistance.

The European Union has pressured the Taliban to form a “comprehensive government”, promote democracy, ensure equal access to education for girls in school, and to ensure groups who endanger the safety of others are not allowed to operate in Afghanistan.

It also suggested that, if the Taliban met EU conditions, that could unlock extra financing for Afghanistan’s cash-strapped new rulers but only “for the direct benefit of the Afghan people”.

The Taliban reiterated they would uphold human rights “in line with Islamic principles” and would welcome back diplomatic missions that had closed, according to the statement.

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