Humanitarian catastrophe looming: EU decides in aid of billions for Afghanistan

After the Taliban came to power, Afghanistan faces a humanitarian catastrophe and food is scarce. The EU has announced further billions in aid for the people in the country. In doing so, however, she absolutely wants to prevent the money from ending up in the wrong hands.

The EU has announced humanitarian aid worth one billion euros for the people of Afghanistan. The money should help “avert a major humanitarian and socio-economic collapse,” said Commission head Ursula von der Leyen. The announcement was made in the context of a special G20 summit, which discussed the humanitarian situation and the fight against extremist violence in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, EU representatives met with the Taliban in Doha.

The aid funds complement the 300 million euros in humanitarian aid that the EU had already promised. 250 million euros are to flow into the country as direct aid. According to the EU, the remainder will be distributed to Afghanistan’s neighboring countries that are taking in people fleeing from the Taliban regime. “The Afghan people must not pay the price for the actions of the Taliban. That is why the support package is aimed at the Afghan people and the country’s neighbors, who were the first to help them,” said von der Leyen during the virtual summit of the state and government officials Heads of government of the G20 group.

Meanwhile, representatives of the EU met in Doha for talks with the Taliban, as a reporter from the AFP news agency reported. According to EU spokeswoman Nabila Massrali, the meeting should focus on the free departure of those wishing to leave Afghanistan, access to humanitarian aid for the country, respect for women’s rights and security issues. The meeting was an “informal exchange” which, however, “does not constitute recognition of the ‘transitional government'” in the Hindu Kush, stressed Massrali. According to their statements, representatives of the USA also took part in the talks in Doha. Massrali did not provide any further information on the number or functions of the EU delegates.

“We have to take action”

Before the talks on Tuesday, EU foreign affairs representative Josep Borrell said that the EU wanted to increase its direct aid to the Afghan people in order to avert a “collapse”. “We cannot ‘wait and see what happens’. We have to act, and do it quickly,” he said.

The international community is currently faced with the difficult task of delivering urgently needed aid to the Afghans without supporting the Taliban rule. German representatives had already met in Doha on Monday for talks with high-ranking Taliban. Previously, for the first time since the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, representatives of the US and the Taliban met in person on the weekend in Doha.

The Taliban came back to power in August around 20 years after the US and its allies invaded Afghanistan. Since then, the Islamists have sought international recognition for their government and humanitarian aid to prevent a famine in the country that is dependent on foreign development funds.