EU opens official representation in Afghanistan

Status: 01/21/2022 1:34 p.m

The EU establishes a “minimal presence” in Afghanistan, but does not send an ambassador. Norway also wants to hold talks with the Taliban to alleviate the current humanitarian catastrophe in the country.

The EU has begun restoring a “minimal presence” in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul, says a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell. The international delegation staff should therefore facilitate humanitarian aid in the country and monitor the current emergency situation.

Due to the discontinued aid and sanctions from various countries, Afghanistan is currently in a severe economic crisis. The UN estimates that 4.7 million people suffer from severe malnutrition.

No recognition of the Taliban government

Borrell’s spokesman stressed that the move should not be taken as a sign of recognition of the Taliban government. An ambassador will not be sent to Kabul, according to EU sources.

The Taliban had previously announced that the EU had “officially opened its embassy with a permanent presence and practically started operations” after several meetings.

Many embassies are closed

Since the Taliban took power in Afghanistan in August 2021, the embassies of many countries have been closed – including the German one. Russia, China and countries neighboring Afghanistan still have ambassadors in the country.

The Taliban government has not yet been recognized by any government in the world. The EU states make this dependent, among other things, on human and women’s rights being observed.

Norway wants to hold talks

Norway has meanwhile invited representatives of the Taliban to talks in Oslo next week to discuss the current situation in Afghanistan. In addition to representatives of Norway and the international community, meetings with Afghan journalists and human rights activists are also planned, according to the Norwegian government.

“This does not legitimize or recognize the Taliban,” agrees Norway’s Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt. But we want to prevent the situation from getting worse. Norway is particularly concerned with school education for girls and the participation of women.

Norway has been in talks with the Taliban for years. It is not yet clear whether they will accept the invitation to Oslo. A Norwegian delegation is traveling to Kabul this week to discuss the current situation, the government said.

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