The European Union’s foreign policy chief called for an immediate ceasefire in Afghanistan on Tuesday, warning that the country may lose political and financial support from Brussels.
Josep Borrell, EU’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, said at an Afghanistan fundraising conference in Geneva that “a ceasefire should not be an outcome of the [peace] process, it should accompany the process from today.”
Any attempt to restore an Islamic emirate would have an impact on our political and financial engagement.
Afghanistan is anticipating changes as the United States has started withdrawing its troops from the country it invaded in 2001. The move followed the signing of a peace deal with the Taliban rebels in February.
The Taliban, which ruled in Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001, has recently called for the establishment of an Islamic government, or “Islamic emirate” in the country.
At the Geneva forum, the EU also announced that €1.2 billion ($1.43 billion) would be provided to Afghanistan over four years. Brussels has committed around €5.1 billion in development aid to Afghanistan from 2002 to 2020, and this makes the country the largest beneficiary of EU development assistance in the world.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also called at the same conference on Tuesday for an “immediate, unconditional ceasefire” in Afghanistan, and an inclusive process in which “women, young people and victims of conflict are meaningfully represented.”
The virtual conference held in Geneva is being attended by ministers from about 70 countries and representatives of humanitarian organizations. They are expected to pledge billions of dollars for Afghanistan, but foreign donors may introduce stringent conditions regarding corruption for the funds to be distributed fairly.
The talks between the government in Kabul and Taliban rebels have also stalled, and the militant group has not been invited to the Geneva conference.
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