Afghan takeover: EU plans talks with Taliban as group thanks world for promised aid

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Passengers walk as they go to the terminal at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Passengers walk as they go to the terminal at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Haroon Sabawoon/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The European Union has no option but to talk to the Taliban in Afghanistan, the bloc's top diplomat said on Tuesday, adding that Brussels would seek to coordinate with EU governments to organise a diplomatic presence in Kabul, Reuters reports.

"The Afghan crisis is not over," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told the European Parliament in Strasbourg. "To have any chance of influencing events, we have no other option but to engage with the Taliban," Borrell said, adding that the EU would stress the importance of human rights.

"Maybe it's a pure oxymoron to talk about human rights but this is what we have to ask them," he said.

READ | UN seeks to raise $600m as Afghans suffer poverty, hunger

Meanwhile, AFP reports that the Taliban on Tuesday thanked the world for pledging hundreds of millions of dollars in emergency aid to Afghanistan, and urged the United States to show "heart" in future dealings.

Amir Khan Muttaqi, the regime's acting foreign minister, told a press conference the Taliban would spend donor money wisely and use it to alleviate poverty.

He was speaking a day after the United Nations said a total of $1.2 billion in aid had been pledged to Afghanistan, which was taken over by the Taliban on 15 August.

"The Islamic Emirate will try its best to deliver this aid to the needy people in a completely transparent manner," Muttaqi said.

He also asked Washington to show appreciation for the Taliban allowing the US to complete a troop withdrawal and evacuation of more than 120 000 people last month.

"America is a big country, they need to have a big heart," he said.

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