Germany urges boosting diplomatic contacts with Taliban

Merkel says diplomatic talks with Taliban has ‘to be distinguished from any diplomatic recognition’

BERLIN (AA) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday called for more European efforts to step up diplomatic talks with the Taliban aimed at dealing with the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan.

Talking at a press conference with her Austrian counterpart Sebastian Kurz in Berlin, Merkel said Germany was involved in talks with some countries such as France, Britain, the Netherlands, and Italy “about how we can have a temporary or stronger presence in Kabul or the region.”

She added the European cooperation in Afghanistan was geared at “being able to establish continuous talks with the Taliban at all.”

But Merkel also underlined that diplomatic talks with the Taliban had “to be distinguished from any diplomatic recognition.”

“It is just about having people or diplomats around who can talk to the Taliban. The Taliban are shifting their presence from Doha to Kabul these days. So that means we have to see how we can then continue to maintain these talking contacts,” the chancellor said.

“And then the question arises when will an airport be operational again there? Talks are being held with Qatar and Turkey on that issue. Our foreign minister has made it clear that (Germany) is ready to provide technical assistance here as well,” she added.

Germany ended evacuation flights from Afghanistan last week ahead of Taliban’s Aug. 31 deadline for foreign troops to exit the country.

Berlin has evacuated nearly 5,300 people from Afghanistan since the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul, but tens of thousands of Afghans who worked for the German military, development agencies and other institutions are still trying to leave the war-stricken country.

Merkel’s center-right coalition government has been criticized by opposition parties for failing to anticipate the Taliban’s swift advances and ignoring repeated warnings to evacuate German citizens, Afghan local staff, and people at heightened risk of persecution.​​​​​​​

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