September 23, 2021

Beyond Going Long

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NATO wants evacuations to continue, but the Taliban must keep their promises

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Friday that NATO would seek to evacuate people from Afghanistan while maintaining contact with the hardline Taliban movement.

However, he said, the new Afghan leaders must show that they deserve help and recognition. This was reported by Reuters, which Stoltenberg gave an interview.

“Contact with the Taliban is necessary to get the people out,” Stoltenberg said.

“NATO has managed to evacuate most of the staff who worked with us. However, there are still a lot of people (in Afghanistan) and we will be evacuating them.”

But the Secretary-General warned against the international community’s rapid recognition of the Taliban government. Stoltenberg added that it is still too early to assess the fact that Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar has been appointed to head the new government.

We will hold them accountable for what they promised.”

“We must judge them by their actions, not their words… We will hold them to account for what they promised – so that Afghanistan does not become a safe haven for international terrorists,” Stoltenberg said.

Western countries are already debating whether and when to recognize the Taliban government. EU foreign ministers agreed on Friday that this must be preceded by certain conditions, such as respect for human rights or the provision of humanitarian aid. Stoltenberg said recognition of the Taliban government would also be discussed among NATO allies.

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