Foreign affairs ministers held an extraordinary meeting (17 August) to take stock of the situation in Afghanistan. Ministers called for the respect for fundamental rights and the safe passage of EU citizens and local staff, acknowledging that in order to do so they will have to deal with the Taliban. The EU is also in touch with Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries to discuss support for the anticipated migratory impact of the Taliban takeover.
EU High Representative Borrell recognized the “momentous” developments as the most significant geopolitical event since the annexation of Crimea by Russia. There was a clear disappointment with the United States’ unilateral approach. Borrell said that he had spoken with the US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, adding that the events illustrated how Europe needs to develop “its ‘famous’ strategic autonomy”.
When answering a question from an Afghan journalist he said that it was not the decision of the EU or member states to leave Afghanistan, but that they could not stay with their limited military capacity. With understatement, he suggested: “It could have been managed in a better way for sure.”
The EU said that the negotiation process between the Afghan government and the Taliban had offered the best chance to reach a solution that would guarantee security and peaceful coexistence within Afghanistan and in the region, however it called on all parties to respect the commitments made during that process to arrive at an “inclusive, comprehensive and enduring political solution”.