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EU Advises Taliban Government not ‘Comprehensive and Representative’

September 9, 2021

The EU said on Wednesday that the Taliban’s “guardian” government in Afghanistan had broken promises to include various groups. “Based on preliminary analysis of the names declared, it does not appear to be the inclusive and representative formation in terms of Afghanistan’s rich ethnic and religious diversity that we hoped to see and that the Taliban had promised in recent weeks”. The EU’s 27 member states have set five conditions for expanding their involvement with the Taliban, including the formation of an “inclusive and representative” interim government. According to the bloc’s representative, “such tolerance and acceptance and recognition are expected in the structure of a future interim government, as well as a result of negotiations.”

The Taliban declared a ministerial government on Tuesday, with no women or non-Taliban members and key figures sanctioned by the UN or wanted by the US on terrorism charges. Foreign ministers from 20 countries will meet on Wednesday, led by top diplomats from the US and Germany, to discuss how to approach the new administration. The West has been struggling to find a way forward in Afghanistan since the Taliban took power following the withdrawal of foreign troops led by the US.

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Meanwhile, Germany, China, and Japan greeted the Taliban’s provisional government with skepticism. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas expressed concern about the composition of the government, saying there was little reason to be optimistic about the situation in Afghanistan. “The official statement of an interim government without the participation of other groups as well as yesterday’s violence against protesters and journalists in Kabul are not signs of hope”.

On the other hand, Maas stated that Germany was willing to continue talks with the Taliban in order to allow more people to leave the country, which was suffering from food shortages and a halt in international payments. China, which shares a border with Afghanistan, had prompted the formation of an “open and tolerant” government following the Taliban’s takeover of power, due to the chaos caused by the withdrawal of US troops. According to a foreign ministry representative in Beijing, China sees the formation of the new government as a key step toward Afghanistan’s rebuilding. “We hope that the new Afghan authorities will listen to people of all races and factions in order to meet the ambitions of its own peoples as well as the expectations of the international community,” Wang Wenbin said at a daily briefing.

In response to a question about whether Beijing would recognize the new government, Wang stated that China was ready to maintain communication with its leaders. In Tokyo, a top official said Japan was tracking the Taliban’s actions and would continue to cooperate with the US and other countries, while also conveying concern about the safety of Afghan citizens. “Through various efforts, including practical dialogue with the Taliban, we are doing everything possible to safeguard of Japanese nationals and remaining local staff,” said Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato. He also promised to help Japanese citizens who wanted to escape the South Asian country.

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