The EU Council said in a statement that it is concerned about the “presence and operations of terrorist groups in Afghanistan," saying that the country should not once again serve as a “base for terrorism.”
However, the statement said that the EU approved the conclusions that reaffirm the EU’s "principled commitment to peace and stability in Afghanistan and to supporting the people of the country."
“Afghanistan should not once again serve as a base for terrorism and violent extremism to other countries, and the EU demands that the Taliban cease all direct and indirect ties with terrorism and reiterates the Taliban’s responsibility in combatting terrorism,” the statement reads.
The Islamic Emirate denied the presence of terrorist groups in Afghanistan.
“There is no group, movement or element, whose existence here anyone can provide evidence for. No one can show a particular area,” said Bilal Karimi, deputy spokesman of the Islamic Emirate.
“The Council reinstates the validity of the five benchmarks outlined in the Council Conclusion of September 2021, welcomes the EU’s presence in Kabul, and recalls the importance of the work of the EU Special Envoy for Afghanistan in conveying the EU’s position, including in dialogues with regional and international partners, in line with the EU’s strategic interests,” the statement reads.
The EU condemned the “large-scale and systematic gender-based discrimination by the Taliban who, through their discriminatory decision to ban women from working for national and international non-governmental organisations, are impeding the delivery of humanitarian assistance and basic needs support to the Afghan people.”
The statement reads that the EU remains committed to continuing its assistance to alleviate the severe humanitarian and socio-economic crisis, by providing humanitarian and basic needs and livelihoods support "within a principled approach, where women can meaningfully participate in its delivery and where women remain beneficiaries."
“Where activities cannot be continued in line with the EU’s principled approach, the EU support to those activities will be reconsidered,” the statement said.
The EU also said that it stands ready to adopt additional targeted restrictive measures against those responsible for serious violations and abuses of human rights. These restrictive measures are designed not to negatively impact the Afghan population and are reversible.
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