The European Commission is in contact with the Taliban. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen confirmed this today during a visit to the reception center for Afghan EU workers in Madrid, Spain. The German stressed that the talks do not mean at all that the European Union recognizes the Taliban. Von der Leyen also reported that European member states had reached an agreement on extending humanitarian aid in Afghanistan.
According to von der Leyen, the European Commission mainly wants to ensure that evacuations carried out by various European countries from Afghanistan proceed smoothly, and that people who need to be evacuated can use “legal and safe escape routes”. Now it seems that it is very difficult for many people to reach Kabul International Airport, where evacuations are taking place. With the exception of a few American and German helicopters, Western armies do not operate outside the airport perimeter, so the majority of those entitled to evacuate have to get there on their own, past Taliban checkpoints.
Von der Leyen also promised more humanitarian aid to Afghanistan from the European Union in Madrid. She promised that the European Commission would make a proposal on this in the near future. “We have to help, this is our responsibility. And also for the people who stayed in Afghanistan.” At the same time, money will not flow to the new Afghan regime if the Taliban does not respect human rights. Over the next seven years, 1 billion euros of European development funds have already been allocated to Afghanistan, but the European Union can therefore keep this amount as well.
At the military airport of Madrid, about ten kilometers northeast of the Spanish capital, a reception center was set up for Afghans who worked in European institutions in their homeland and were evacuated by their country. Their families are also taken care of there. These people can be transferred to other EU countries after security and medical checks. Our country has already committed itself to receiving 42 Afghans of that category.
Von der Leyen visited the Center today with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, European Council President Charles Michel and European High Representative for Foreign Policy Josep Borrell.
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