Taliban must respond to increasing number of terrorist attacks: EU envoy

EU speical envoy for Afghanistan, Tomas Niklasson.

The European Union special envoy for Afghanistan, Tomas Niklasson, issued a statement on Sunday after his last week‘s visit to Kabul, asking the Taliban to respond firmly to the increasing number of terrorist attacks in the country.

His visit to Kabul happened at a time when a deadly bombing targeted a classroom full of female students in the west of the city on Sept. 30, leaving at least 50 people dead and over 100 others wounded.

The EU envoy said he held talks with Taliban officials, former president Hamid Karzai and Afghan and foreign journalists.

In a series of tweets, Niklasson said the human rights situation in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate, adding that major concerns include the regression in women and girls’ right to education, work and participation in social and political life, the rights of Hazaras and other minorities, and severe restrictions on the freedom of expression.

He said the Taliban “must respond firmly to the increasing number of terrorist attacks in Afghanistan.”

“They have an obligation to protect all Afghans and bring perpetrators to justice under due process. They must also prevent the use of Afghan soil for threatening other countries,” he added.

The EU special envoy called on the Taliban to establish a process allowing each adult Afghan man and woman to have a say on the political system, their leaders, and policies.

“Inclusivity is a path to legitimacy and to a long-term stable Afghanistan, at peace with itself and with its neighbors,” he reiterated.

“The EU remains committed to engagement, based on non-recognition and our benchmarks,” Niklasson said. “This is a better course of action than closing doors. A tweet never replaces a real conversation, and reality is more complex and multi-faceted than what can be captured in 280 characters.”

He reiterated the EU’s commitment to keeping Afghanistan on the international agenda.

“I remind the de facto authorities that time is short and they also need to take action. Our commitment to the people of Afghanistan should be a shared one, and a good place from which to start,” he added.

The EU envoy said Afghanistan is facing a harsh winter, reminding that the UN “Humanitarian Appeal” is only funded at 45 percent.

“I urge China, Russia and the OIC to follow the example of the UK, the US, the EU and others by significantly stepping up humanitarian assistance, while humanitarian access must be secured,” he concluded.