Parliament and Council: EU Must Ensure Evacuation of NATO-Affiliated Afghans and Human Rights in Afghanistan

The European Parliament and European Council have made statements regarding the situation in Afghanistan and its possible consequences both in Europe and abroad.

Among European leadership, there appears to be a public consensus that the US and NATO should not have hastily departed Afghanistan without any certain terms set in-place or a plan for the country after withdrawal.

“We deeply deplore the recent political, military and moral calamity in Afghanistan and express our deep concerns about the situation,” the Parliament’s statement reads.

Among top concerns are human rights, humanitarian aid, and making good on promises made to Afghan nationals to be granted citizenship in return for working with NATO governments.

“At this critical and dramatic moment, humanitarian action prevails over everything. We urgently call upon all parties to secure and facilitate the safe and orderly departure of foreign nationals and Afghans who wish to leave the country. The departure through Kabul airport must be assured by all means. We bear a moral responsibility for those who have worked for the EU’s entities, for NATO partners and other international and civil society organisations,” the Parliament’s statement reads.

Among other concerns are the impending crises that could include humanitarian aspects, displacement and migration, Covid-19, and the security of food and water.

“The EU, together with other partners, needs to tackle urgently the humanitarian crisis in the country and the region, caused by conflict, displacement, food insecurity, droughts and the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Parliament’s statement reads.

At the same time, a chief concern among the Parliament and Council combatting terrorism in the region and continuing to build relationships with central Asian partners.

“EU engagement with its partners in Central Asia will be increasingly important. Combatting terrorism and preventing the use of Afghan territory by international terrorist groups remains at the core of the EU’s collective engagement in the country,” Josep Borrell, the High Representative of the European Council said in a statement.

The EU’s assistance to Afghanistan will be conditional, however, being based upon “a peaceful and inclusive settlement and respect for the fundamental rights of all Afghans, including women, youth and persons belonging to minorities, as well as respect for Afghanistan’s international obligations, commitment to the fight against corruption and preventing the use of Afghanistan’s territory by terrorist organisations,” Borrell’s statement reads.

In the same statement, Borrell also promised to continue providing assistance to the Afghan people in light of the worsening situation there, calling on governing authorities to allow the people access to foreign aid.

“To address the worsening humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, the European Union will continue to provide needs-based assistance to the Afghan people and calls on all actors to allow safe and unhindered access for humanitarian assistance to Afghan women, men and children in need, including to the large number of internally displaced persons (IDPs),” Borrell’s statement reads.

The Parliament has also expressed concern that Russia and China will attempt to step in and fill the void left by the presence of American and NATO forces, which could lead to an even larger international crisis.

“The EU needs to develop a new Strategy for Afghanistan and the region taking into account the new circumstances, considering that Russia and China will quickly try to fill the political vacuum. In particular, Pakistan, Iran and India should be urged to play a constructive role in Afghanistan,” the Parliament’s statement reads.

In Conclusion, both entities called on the Taliban to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law as the new government of Afghanistan.

To read the Parliament’s statement, click this link.

To read the Council and Josep Borrell’s statement, click this link.

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