Nov 24, 2020 17:19 UTC
  •  EU calls for Afghan truce, warns against Taliban regaining administrative power

The European Union (EU)’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has called for an immediate truce in Afghanistan and vowed that any attempt by the Taliban militants to regain administrative power in the country would affect the bloc’s support.

Speaking during a Tuesday fund-raising conference in Geneva, Borrel said, “A ceasefire should not be an outcome of the (peace) process, it should accompany the process from today.”

The EU vowed to maintain its commitment of 1.2 billion euros (1.43 billion dollars) to Afghanistan during the donor conference.

“In 2016, the EU showed its strong commitment to Afghanistan by pledging 1.2 billion euros over a four-year period,” announced European Commissioner in charge of International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen. “It is my pleasure to announce today that we are ready to keep this level of support for the next four years.”

She did not elaborate on why the sum had not been increased despite growing violence across Afghanistan as well as rising costs.

Afghan president pleads for continued support

Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani called for continued support by the international community for his war-torn country.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown us all into a state of global uncertainty,” Ghani said in a virtual address from Kabul to the global donor conference. “We are exceptionally grateful that at a time of such collective suffering... your commitment to Afghanistan remains strong.”

“We ask our international partners to help us do more with less... Financial resources — aid — will continue to be critical to our growth for the foreseeable future,” the Afghan president said.

His remarks came as the Taliban militants have been engaged in peace talks with the Kabul government in Qatar since September 12, though no major progress has been announced so far.

“I want to be very clear that our commitment to negotiations with the Taliban remains firm,” Ghani said, stressing, however, that violence had “skyrocketed” since the US struck a deal with the Taliban militants in February.

“Plans to achieve peace did not materialize as imagined. Suffering and killing continues to plague Afghans on a daily basis. It is unbearable,” the Afghan president added.

The development came a day after the United Nations (UN) warned the international community of “disastrous consequences” if it halted assisting millions of Afghan people, amid the growing violence and the flagging peace talks between Kabul and the Taliban.