The latest: Tomas Niklasson, the EU Special Envoy for Afghanistan, has reiterated European Union’s clear position not to provide support – political, material, or otherwise – for Afghan armed resistance as he completed a five-day visit to Afghanistan.
On resistance against Taliban: The resistance against the Taliban and its hardline policies are growing however, the EU representative still claims that during his visit to Afghanistan and his meetings with various stakeholders, many Afghans acknowledged the claim made by representatives of the Taliban authorities that the war has ended.
- He added that the Afghans considered Taliban’s rule to be an opportunity that should be seized to break the cycle of violence.
- However, despite opposing popular opinion, he did mention in his statement that he encouraged Taliban to offer an alternative to their government, by engaging in dialogue with all parts of the population – men and women.
- Even though he clearly opposed support to armed resistance he mentioned that there was a consistent view that the conditions were not in place to allow for recognition by the international community of the Taliban authorities as a legitimate government.
- He stressed that engagement with the Taliban and other Afghans must continue to address shared concerns – including security and counter-terrorism, the need for inclusive governance, upholding human rights, preventing irregular migration and human trafficking, countering narcotics production and smuggling, and stabilising the Afghan economy.
On ban on women working for NGOs: He stated that the ban challenges fundamental principles and has immediate consequences, as critical assistance delivered by such organisations cannot reach women and children in need.
- He also added that since even education for Afghan women has been banned, it has an immediate impact on the children and young women and it has deprived Afghanistan from benefitting fully from its talented people to rebuild and develop the country. He urged Taliban to lift all these bans and restrictions.
On humanitarian situation: He said that the humanitarian situation remains bleak, with more than 28 million vulnerable Afghans in need of humanitarian assistance.
On general amnesty: He called on the Taliban to respect the general amnesty by ensuring accountability when it is breached, and regardless of who the victim, or the perpetrator, is.
On terrorism: Niklasson emphasised that during his conversations with senior representatives of the Taliban, they reiterated their commitment that Afghan soil would not be used to threaten the security of other countries.
- He said that the Taliban confirmed their firm commitment to fight Daesh (ISIS-KP).
Zoom out: Niklasson’s visit comes close on the heels of the Doha meet on May 1 and 2 which saw Special Representatives and Special Envoys for Afghanistan from more than 20 countries, as well as the EU and the OIC, meet with the UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
- During his visit to Afghanistan, he among others, met with representatives of UNAMA, UN agencies and the diplomatic community; the Taliban’s acting Director of the General Directorate for Intelligence (GDI); the Taliban’s acting Deputy Minister of Public Health and the acting Director of the Afghan Food and Drug Authority, as well as officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
- He also spoke with representatives of civil society and of ethnic minorities, human rights activists, former president Hamid Karzai and other political figures.