‘Not a single euro’: EU talks tough on Taliban’s promise of peace, women’s rights | World News

The European Union has neither recognised the Taliban nor it is holding talks with the militant, EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said on Saturday. Addressing a joint press conference alongside Spanish President Pedro Sanchez and EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, von der Leyen put strict conditions for releasing the one billion euros set aside for development said for the next seven years.

“So let me be very clear on development aid. The 1 billion euros in EU funds set aside for development aid for the next seven years is tied to strict conditions: respect for human rights, good treatment of minorities, and respect for the rights of women and girls, just to name a few,” said the EU Commission president.

She said the situation in Afghanistan is still very unclear and unpredictable, raising apprehensions about the Taliban’s promise of peace and inclusivity. Referring to the reports of women being turned away from their workplace and people being hunted down for their past work, the top EU official said not a “single euro of development aid can go to a regime that denies women and girls their full freedoms and rights to education and careers.”

“We may well hear the Taliban’s words, but we will measure them above all by their deeds and their actions,” she added.

The Taliban’s months-long offensive to topple the Afghan government led by Ashraf Ghani resulted in the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people. After the Taliban completed a lightning takeover of Afghanistan on Sunday, the Kabul airport witnessed a chaotic situation as hundreds of desperate Afghans were trying to board military planes flown in by other countries to evacuate their staff and citizens.

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“This resettlement of vulnerable people is of utmost importance. It is our moral duty,” Von der Leyen said.

She also stressed the need to prevent people from falling into the hands of smugglers and human traffickers. “This means, first, that we must offer legal and safe routes globally, organised by us, the international community, to those who need protection,” she added.

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