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EU’s Borrell: We will have to talk to Taliban, but not recognize their rule

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell speaks as he attends a meeting of EU foreign ministers to discuss the situation in Ukraine, at the European Council building in Brussels, on April 19, 2021. (Francois Walschaerts, Pool via AP)
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell speaks as he attends a meeting of EU foreign ministers to discuss the situation in Ukraine, at the European Council building in Brussels, on April 19, 2021. (Francois Walschaerts, Pool via AP)

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell says the EU will have to talk to the Taliban after the group seized control of Afghanistan.

“The Taliban have won the war, so we will have to talk with them,” he says, while stressing this does not mean moving quickly to officially recognize their rule.

Borrell speaks following an urgent meeting of EU foreign ministers, called after the rebels overthrew the Afghan government.

The EU, many of whose members are also NATO allies which fought the group, is concerned about the fate of their citizens in Afghanistan, as well as local Afghan employees.

It is also worried that the Taliban’s brutal reputation and imposition of Islamist rule could hurt women’s rights and trigger a new wave of migration towards Europe.

Borrell says that Brussels will “engage in a dialogue as soon as necessary to prevent a humanitarian and a potential migratory disaster.”

He adds: “This dialogue will also have to focus on the means to prevent the return of a foreign terrorist presence in Afghanistan.”

“It is not a matter of official recognition, it is a matter of dealing with them,” he says. “If I want 400 people, Afghans and their families, that have been working for us today in the European Union delegations, to reach the airport, you can understand that I will need to talk with the Taliban authorities.”

“So we have to engage with them,” he adds. “And at the same time, remain very vigilant on the respect of their international obligations.”

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