Afghanistan dispatches: EU offers Taliban humanitarian aid while encouraging more inclusive government Dispatches
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Afghanistan dispatches: EU offers Taliban humanitarian aid while encouraging more inclusive government

Law students and lawyers in Afghanistan are filing reports with JURIST on the situation there after the Taliban takeover. Here, a Staff Correspondent for JURIST in Kabul comments on recent EU negotiations with the Taliban government over humanitarian aid and government inclusivity.  For privacy and security reasons, we are withholding our Correspondent’s name. The text has been only lightly edited to respect the author’s voice.

EU Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas Nicholson, accompanied by a delegation from the European Commission, met with Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Mutaqi  and a number of Taliban officials for two days in Doha, Qatar on Monday. This meeting was aimed at allowing EU offices in Afghanistan to continue aid to the poor in Afghanistan.

In this meeting, the EU envoys announced conditions for humanitarian and European aid to the Taliban government. The Taliban said the talks called on the European Union to separate humanitarian issues from political considerations, and stressed that progress could be made through “cooperation, not pressure”. This – according to my understanding – means that the Taliban want to receive humanitarian aid without the aid-providers setting any terms and conditions for it. But so far, we have not seen any practical plan by the Taliban through which this foreign aid could be managed and distributed to the needy in the country. More importantly, the Taliban are not disclosing any information on how  previous humanitarian aid was distributed by them. There is no official report, statement, and/or clarification on who actually benefited from the aid that entered the country in the past three months.

On the other hand, the EU Commission has called on the Taliban to take swift, meaningful and tangible steps towards an inclusive government that reflects the richness of Afghan society and represents ethnic, political and religious minorities with women and men in senior positions. The EU delegation stressed that a minimal European presence in Kabul does not mean recognition of the Taliban government.

The European Commission added that such aid (“humanitarian and more”) is provided exclusively through international and non-governmental organizations, using the best possible delivery mechanisms. EU assistance is said to provide essential services such as education and health and livelihoods, as defined by European standards, including equal access to education at all levels for girls and boys in line with international standards.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid tweeted that during a meeting between Foreign Minister Amir Khan Mottaqi and the Taliban delegation on Sunday, they announced the continuation of the European Union’s humanitarian office in Kabul and that the Taliban is working to ensure its security.