Afghans continue to wait at Kabul International Airport, while thousands of Afghans rush to flee the Afghan capital, Kabul, on August 18, 2021.
Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
LONDON – The European Union has suspended development funding for Afghanistan after the Taliban took control of the war-torn country.
The news comes as European leaders focus on evacuating Europeans from Kabul, as well as Afghans who have helped the bloc over the past two decades.
Germany and Finland announced on Tuesday that they will stop development aid for the time being. Later in the evening, the EU foreign minister confirmed the broader step to stop funding.
“There are no payments to Afghanistan right now. No development aid payments until we have clarified the situation,” said EU Josep Borrell.
“We must first see what kind of government the Taliban will organize,” he told reporters.
In November, the EU promised to donate 1.2 billion euros ($ 1.4 billion) over the next four years in long-term emergency aid. These funds were conditional on the Afghan authorities maintaining democratic pluralism, the rule of law and human rights.
Last year, Germany promised 430 million euros in civilian assistance between 2021 and 2024 on the basis that a peaceful solution to the civil war would take place. The United States at the time also committed to spend $ 600 million in aid to Afghanistan by 2021, according to data from Deutsche Welle.
Data from the UN Agency for the Coordination of Humanitarian Aid showed that even before the Taliban’s advance in recent weeks, some 18.4 million people were in need of humanitarian aid in Afghanistan. Borrell emphasized during the press conference that the funds suspended were different from humanitarian aid, which the EU intends to continue to provide.
Arsla Jawaid, an analyst at consulting firm Control Risks, told CNBC on Tuesday that the Taliban are likely to form a government that includes non-Taliban members “to keep financial and foreign aid lines open.”
Not official recognition
The crisis in Afghanistan raises questions about the EU’s influence throughout the world, its relationship with the United States and ultimately how it will deal with any influx of refugees.
At the moment, Borrell said, it is crucial to develop dialogue with the Taliban to ensure that the evacuations from Kabul are successful.
“We need to get in touch with the authorities in Kabul … whatever they are. The Taliban have won the war,” he said, adding that this “is not a matter of official recognition, it is a matter of to deal with (them). “
Following a meeting with Foreign Ministers, Borrell said in a statement: “The EU calls on all parties in Afghanistan to respect all the commitments made and to further pursue an inclusive, comprehensive and lasting political solution. Protecting and promoting all human rights, especially women and girls , should be an integral part of these efforts, and women should be supported and able to contribute fully to this process. “
At their first press conference since the takeover of Kabul, the Taliban claimed that women’s rights would be respected “within the framework of Islamic law” – a vague parameter given the extreme interpretation of the religion for which the group is known.
The head of the Afghan central bank, Ajmal Ahmady, who has fled the country, has stated how unlikely it is that the Taliban will succeed in seizing the former government’s assets of $ 10 billion.