EU parliament member says recognizing Taliban is ‘not on the table’

Hannah Neumann, a member of the Human Rights Committee of the European Parliament, has said that the option of Taliban’s recognition was not on the table of the international community.

In an interview with Amu TV, Neumann emphasized that the recognition of the Taliban’s caretaker government was not on the table even when they swept into power following the collapse of the former government in 2021.

“It is clear that no one’s going to recognize the Taliban. Recognition wasn’t even on the table when they took power on August 15 and made all these wonderful promises. And since then, things are just getting worse and worse and worse,” Neumann said.

She also emphasized that the international community must find ways to deal with the Taliban and hold talks with them in such ways that do not lead to the recognition of the Taliban.

“On the other side, we need to accept as painful as it is and as much as I hate it, that they are in power right now. So we have to find ways and means to deal with them, to talk to them. For example, to make sure that humanitarian aid continues to deliver. Then our message is that girls should go to school, so yes, we have to find maybe more constructive ways to talk to them. But we should never recognize them,” she added.

Neumann also emphasized the need for the inclusion of all parties, particularly women and minorities like Hazara and Tajiks, in talks with the Taliban.

The European diplomat has traveled twice to Kabul after the Taliban came into power. She said that the European Union is only discussing major issues such as how to provide humanitarian aid to the people of Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, Neumann said that the Taliban’s approach towards women and girls has nothing to do with either the culture or Islam religion.

“Frankly said, as a rationally thinking person, I don’t get it. I think in other Islamic countries, even Saudi Arabia, one that is still considered to be maybe the strictest, women can drive. They are actually proud of their women going to university, the Saudi ambassador to the European Union is a woman. So really, I mean, they are explaining this about Islam doesn’t seem to make sense to me,” Neumann said.

The diplomat also said that she has seen a lot of resistance against the Taliban in the eyes of the people of Afghanistan.

“Well, I would say I see a lot of resilience in the eyes of the people. Staying, we decided to stay. We want to pick up the fight with the Taliban. We survived them in the 90s. We are going to survive them this time again. So not necessarily hope, but the determination to make it nevertheless,” she said.

Neumann’s statements come on the heels of the Taliban’s slew of repressive decrees, about 20, restricting women’s basic rights since they came into power on 15 August 2021.

The Taliban, however, has always rejected the international community’s calls to respect the rights of girls and women and also to form an inclusive government in Afghanistan.