EU Sharply Criticizes the Composition of the Taliban Government

The EU criticizes the fact that the new interim government of the Taliban has not yet represented the “ethnic and religious diversity of Afghanistan”. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is also concerned about developments in the country.

 

The European Union has sharply criticized the composition of the new Taliban government. The transitional government has not yet reflected the “ethnic and religious diversity of Afghanistan”, said an EU spokesman in Brussels on Wednesday in a first reaction. EU Vice-Commission President Maros Sefcovic also urged respect for “women’s rights and fundamental freedoms”.

The EU spokesman criticized the fact that so far, the Taliban had not presented an “inclusive and representative” government. The radical Islamists would not live up to their promise to involve the broadest possible sections of the population.

Vice Commission President Sefcovic added: “We are looking very closely at how the new government is behaving.” Last week, the European foreign ministers had given the Taliban five conditions for establishing diplomatic relations. This includes respect for freedom of the press and other fundamental rights and a promise by the Taliban that Afghanistan will not again become a haven for terrorists.

The spokesman for the EU Foreign Affairs Representative Josep Borrell, Peter Stano, spoke in Twitter’s short message of “disturbing reports that the Taliban are not complying with international human rights obligations”. He responded to reports of the violent breaking up of a demonstration in the Afghan capital Kabul with many women among the participants. Radical Islamic Taliban fighters fired warning shots on Tuesday to disperse the people.

Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has expressed concern about developments in Afghanistan. “The announcement of a transitional government without the participation of other groups and yesterday’s violence against demonstrators and journalists in Kabul are not the signals that (…) give a reason for optimism,” said Maas on Wednesday before a meeting with his US colleague Antony Blinken and one of the Conference call with 20 foreign ministers with. The commitment of the West will depend on the behaviour of the Taliban. These had demanded the return of the diplomats to Kabul and the resumption of development cooperation.

According to Maas, there is a threat of a triple humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. Many parts of the country are already experiencing food shortages due to the drought. At the same time, international aid payments, on which many people depend, have been stopped. “And if a new government is unable to keep state affairs going, there is a threat of economic collapse after the political one – with even more drastic humanitarian consequences,” warned the SPD politician. That is also a central concern of the neighbouring states.

Before the meeting with Blinken at the US base in Ramstein, Maas underlined the need for close coordination with the US on Afghanistan. He had therefore invited to the virtual conference of foreign ministers together with Blinken. There will be renewed advice on how to deal with the Taliban and how to evacuate other people from the country. The Taliban appointed a transitional government on Tuesday.

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