Can’t allow Afghanistan to become a threat to its neighours: EU special envoy | World News

NEW DELHI: The European Union (EU) desires to see motion on commitments made by the Taliban setup in Kabul, together with on humanitarian entry, counter-terrorism and the formation of an inclusive authorities, EU special envoy for Afghanistan Tomas Niklasson stated on Friday. In an interview, Niklasson stated the EU and India are very shut on most points associated to Afghanistan, together with the necessity not to isolate the Afghan individuals at the same time as there isn’t any recognition of the interim authorities fashioned by the Taliban. Edited excerpts:

Q. Could we discuss concerning the humanitarian state of affairs in Afghanistan, which is the main focus of the world neighborhood? But it’s a troublesome state of affairs as there isn’t any settlement on the unfreezing of Afghan property world wide, and there are issues in getting the help throughout to the Afghan individuals.

A. I believe, to start with, Afghanistan is heading in direction of a tough winter. I ought to really appropriate myself as a result of I’ve been saying this for months – I believe as we speak we should always say Afghanistan is in a tough winter as a result of winter is already right here. The EU, like most companions, has stopped common improvement help, however on the identical time, we see the wants and have multiplied our humanitarian help fivefold, from 60 million euros to 300 million euros.

Member states have pledged one other 400 million euros. My understanding is that this, along with contributions by others, principally responds to the humanitarian attraction that was launched this autumn. But the wants are huge and the projections for subsequent year are even larger.

You rightly pointed on the issues of getting the money in, the uncertainties about distribution, however the EU is in a good position, to the extent that we had individuals on the [ground] in Kabul and likewise expatriate employees working for the European Commission and the EU. They don’t distribute the help. We try this by way of UN organisations and NGOs, by no means by way of the federal government. And the opposite benefit is that we’ve got labored in Afghanistan and supplied humanitarian help for the final 20 years, so it’s not new territory to us.

We have additionally been working in areas managed by the Taliban, once more not by way of the Taliban, however they know who we’re. They know what we do. They know the principles of the sport and more often than not, they respect the principles of the sport.

Q. What concerning the unfreezing of Afghan property? Do you see that taking place?

A. I believe it’s a complicated matter. As we all know, the property are frozen, the majority of them within the US in banks [but also in] British, German, Swiss and UAE banks. But the most important quantity is within the US. These quantities are one way or the other locked in court docket instances by victims of 9/11 and Americans who gave their lives in Afghanistan.

And then there may be the difficulty of who really owns this money. Is it the federal government which isn’t recognised? Is it the Afghan individuals? Is it the donors as a result of a lot of it presumably would have come from companions who contributed 75% to the nationwide funds.

The third question is these are reserves. They’re not meant to be used to prop up the funds. They’re there to assure the steadiness of a foreign money. You could name that a luxurious in the event you’re ravenous, however that…simply retains including to the difficulties and I don’t see options.

However, we perceive there are discussions happening. I believe there are individuals within the US working to see that a few of this money could possibly be launched in some type. But I don’t know the way rapidly or how a lot. And then an extra problem would then be to whom ought to it go?

Would there be a approach by way of UN-led belief funds or a World Bank belief, or for instance, to use a part of this money for humanitarian or primary wants. I don’t have an answer, however I do know the dialogue is occurring and I’m not hopeful that there can be a main breakthrough quickly, however I hope that a part of it will possibly contribute to the answer.

Q. You had a number of conferences in New Delhi and there have been efforts to align the position of various key gamers in Afghanistan. Was there some convergence with India? Are we on the identical web page and what had been the primary areas of your discussions?

A. India and the EU are distant geographically they usually’re very totally different entities with a totally different historical past and totally different geography. But we’ve got discovered in recent times a sturdy convergence and even an overlap, to a massive extent, in our positions when it comes to Afghanistan. We talked about “Afghan-owned and Afghan-led”, we had the identical rules when it got here to human rights and rights of ladies and ladies, the decision for the Afghan individuals to form their very own future. This was confirmed shortly earlier than the EU-India Summit in spring in a joint declaration by your minister of exterior affairs and the EU excessive consultant, vp Josep Borrell.

Since then, I’ve been in common contact with my counterparts on the ministry right here and we’ve got in contrast notes as issues modified very dramatically in Afghanistan. I’m happy to see that we’ve got not moved away and my go to confirms that we’re very shut on many points.

I assumed maybe earlier than my go to that India can be much more targeted on the safety elements and that might be very comprehensible. There is a deal with safety however I additionally discover that there’s fairly a lot of similarity. Neither Europe nor India desires to isolate Afghanistan. None of us desires to isolate the Afghan individuals, [and] none of us is prepared to recognise the interim authorities. But we each, in numerous methods, attempt to see that dialogue in some type continues to be wanted. We each deal with humanitarian help as a first and fast precedence.

And we each see it as essential that nations within the area, together with India, Iran and [the] Central Asia [states], and nations additional afield comparable to Russia, the US and the EU work collectively in defining what we count on from Afghanistan and take a look at to affect a change for the higher within the nation.

Q. Before coming to India, you met a Taliban delegation in Doha and a assertion issued after the talks began by saying that the meeting didn’t indicate any type of recognition. It’s fairly clear that no person is transferring in direction of recognition of the Taliban proper now.

A. It is obvious that nobody has gone for recognition proper now. It can also be clear that many people interact and have a dialogue. I believe from that perspective, it was helpful to level it out within the assertion that this doesn’t represent recognition. I believe recognition is a tough time period and it has a authorized which means and we will at all times come again and say, we don’t really work with these governments, we recognise states. But what about when the character of the state which has modified from an Islamic republic to we have no idea what’s it. But you realize, these are diplomatic niceties.

I believe what we imply is this isn’t a authorities that has come to energy in a reliable method. This is a authorities that has revoked the structure, that has damaged its guarantees when it comes to negotiating an settlement, a authorities that’s unclear about its worldwide obligations, that calls on its companions not to isolate Afghanistan, however on the identical time sends alerts that put us unsure on whether or not they need to interact with us.

So that is the background…and that is why there isn’t any recognition, however but on the identical time, the Taliban or interim authorities, no matter we name it…they’re the fact for now. We see it as extra in our curiosity to have a dialogue or attempt a dialogue than to shut doorways.

Q. It’s very clear the Taliban haven’t delivered on commitments made throughout their negotiations with the US or beneath UN Security Council decision 2593. There are clearly issues that they want to do.

A. There are clearly issues they want to do, and we might sit quietly in our corners in Delhi or in Brussels and look ahead to them to do it. We suppose there may be a greater chance that they might do at the very least a few of these issues if we discuss to them. If we discover after two months, 4 months, six months, regardless of the time could also be, that they aren’t transferring in any respect, the urge for food for participating will likely be much less, I don’t imply every part will likely be delivered in six months and there could also be totally different timescales for a number of the issues we would like, however we would like to see motion. We need to see the method, however the course of additionally main to outcomes. And so long as that occurs, I believe we’re prepared to proceed the dialogue.

Q. Could you pinpoint a number of the points you raised with the Taliban in Doha?

A. We talked about humanitarian entry, points comparable to taxation of humanitarian help, which they dedicated not to do. They underlined, as we did, the significance of getting girls contributing to humanitarian help, assessing wants, reaching out to individuals, and delivering help. They made a dedication to what we name protected passage. It just isn’t about opening the borders for everyone to depart the nation, however Afghans who’re beneath threat Afghans who could have labored in delicate positions earlier than, possibly Afghans who labored with Indian improvement or European tasks and really feel threatened and need to depart. They needs to be allowed to depart and there’s a dedication on that.

We talked about human rights, a lot wants to be executed. We talked about ladies’ training, the place there’s a sturdy dedication now at the very least on paper…[with] the federal government saying it’s a coverage of the Islamic emirate, as they refer to themselves, that ladies ought to have entry to college.

This just isn’t what we heard a few months and definitely not twenty years in the past. This wants to be translated, it wants to occur all through the nation. Those are a number of the issues we talked about. Where I see much less motion is on inclusivity, of getting a authorities representing minorities or ethnic communities, a authorities having girls or a authorities representing totally different political affiliations.

And we attempt to clarify to the Taliban [that they] need worldwide recognition, however you additionally want home recognition. If that doesn’t come, there’s a threat that historical past repeats itself. The winner takes all of it after which after a decade or two, loses all of it.

Q. Three security-related points which can be a concern are the Taliban’s failure to lower ties to terror teams, a rise in drug manufacturing, and the rise of Islamic State-Khorasan. What are the EU’s view on this?

A. Afghanistan can not [and] should not be allowed to become a threat to its neighbours or to different nations. And this isn’t one thing we’re ready to see occur. It takes selections, it takes motion from the de facto authorities.

When it comes to drug manufacturing, I believe it’s a combined historical past. We have seen during the last twenty years a very substantial improve in manufacturing. It’s debatable to what extent it was pushed by the Taliban or they benefited from a number of the “taxes” on manufacturing and smuggling.

Anyway, it was a part of their earnings…We hear reviews that manufacturing or smuggling is growing. We now have the Taliban controlling the borders. So that’s a worrying signal, however we all know that drug manufacturing offers livelihood for a lot of Afghans…To give you the chance to tackle it, they may want to discover different various crops.

When it comes to ISIS-Ok, they’re lively…and figures differ and there are discussions about, is it one motion? Is it a set of various actions of individuals transferring from one to the opposite? I see a few dangers. First of all, [there is] the chance [or] the potential of the breeding floor, in the event you like. The market for recruiting fighters will likely be there. We have disgruntled or upset Taliban who’ve identified for months or years, or typically longer, how to use a gun. And all of the sudden they’re roughly out of a job. They don’t have a wage or a operate or belonging. We want to add some form of goal in life.

I don’t need to exaggerate it however we’ve got members of the previous Afghan nationwide safety forces who actually know the way to use a gun or a few of them will surely maintain a grudge towards the Taliban. And a few of them will surely be on the lookout for an earnings. I’d hyperlink this to two issues – the humanitarian state of affairs as a result of if winter will get harsh [and] if the economic system deteriorates even additional, and if the interim authorities just isn’t seen as delivering and being extra consultant than it’s now, there may be a dangerous previous custom in Afghanistan of getting a preventing season beginning within the spring.

One of many question marks when it comes to Afghanistan is the financing of Daesh. And I don’t have the solutions to that however plainly they’ve the power to recruit, and that they proceed doing so.

Q. Two of crucial gamers on this area, India and Pakistan, clearly have totally different views on Afghanistan. Is that coming in the way in which of making an attempt to put collectively some type of regional consensus? Is this one thing that worries you?

A. It does fear me. I imply if I attempt to be an optimist for a second, what I see is at some stage, a convergence of views between India and Pakistan on what they are saying they need out of Afghanistan. We come again to a number of the points we talked about – an inclusive and steady authorities, human rights, not threatening its neighbours.

I believe the constructive factor I see is total convergence at a relatively summary stage. But there may be a elementary lack of belief. As we all know from historical past… the Pakistani model of the story may be very a lot that they’ve generously been internet hosting possibly 4 million refugees, a few of them for many years, that the nation has been vastly affected by terrorist assaults, and you’ve got figures they quote of 70,000 or 80,000 individuals being killed, But you additionally hear one other story which is offered by India and others about a part of the army so-called institution, particularly ISI, actively recruiting madrassa college students, internet hosting leaders of varied shuras in Pakistan, pulling the strings, calling the pictures, and even having performed a vital function in placing the present authorities in place with a very massive variety of Haqqani Network [members]. Pakistani authorities declare they’ve lost some affect. Some Indian observers would in all probability snicker them within the face and say we noticed what occurred in Kabul. I believe what I’d hope to see is that there could possibly be some convergence not solely of views but in addition of motion.

I’m a little bit sceptical about exactly the function India and Pakistan collectively can play. What I see as hopeful is regional codecs, and a few codecs the place each nations are introduced collectively, the discussions in Moscow for instance, and hopefully we predict typically it’s simpler to resolve points or not to focus an excessive amount of on bilateral tensions. If you attempt to resolve issues in a bigger context, I believe that’s additionally the European expertise.

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