Top EU diplomat calls developments in Afghanistan 'catastrophe for Western credibility'

First group of evacuated Afghan EU employees arrived in Spain early this morning.

Top EU diplomat calls developments in Afghanistan 'catastrophe for Western credibility'

Recent developments in Afghanistan have done grave damage to Western credibility, said the EU foreign policy chief on Thursday.

“This is a catastrophe for the average people, for the Western values and credibility, and for the development of international relations,” Josep Borrell told EU lawmakers at a hearing organized by the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Development Committees.

He said that the international community succeeded with its first goal of Afghan intervention in 2001 and managed to eliminate al-Qaeda, which was taking shelter in Afghanistan, but failed to deliver on state-building despite all of its efforts.

Borrell said that despite suggestions by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, there is a little chance that the Taliban would include members of the former Afghan government in a new national unity government.

'Communication is not recognition’

Borrell also explained his comments on the need to talk with the Taliban made on Tuesday following an extraordinary videoconference of EU foreign ministers.

“You have to be clear about establishing channel communication, (that it) does not imply in any way the political international recognition of the Taliban,” he stressed, adding that the EU only aims to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid for those in need.

He also suggested that the bloc cooperate better with neighboring countries “so that they can cope better with the negative spillover effects (of) internal migration, increased risk of terrorism, and drug trafficking.”

Borrell – a former Spanish politician – told the MEPs that 150 Afghans, former employees of the EU Delegation in Afghanistan and their families, had landed in Spain early this morning.

However, there remain some 300 people from the same group who are still trying to make their way to Kabul airport to board an EU flight. Borrell said he sent a special envoy and three other EU officials to Afghanistan to help their evacuation.

He said the bloc has “a moral duty to save them” since they “loyally promoted and defended EU values over the past years.”

Borrell implied that the bloc might try to bring more people to the EU, especially human right defenders and women, who in a broader sense worked together with the EU in Afghanistan, but stressed that the bloc cannot take out everyone who wants to leave the country.