Europe

German development aid to Afghanistan hinges on new government

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas held out the prospect of Berlin resuming development aid to Afghanistan if the new Taliban rulers form a broad-based and inclusive government.

Kranj, Slovenia, 3 September 2021 (dpa/MIA) — German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas held out the prospect of Berlin resuming development aid to Afghanistan if the new Taliban rulers form a broad-based and inclusive government.

The Taliban has said they are close to forming a new government, nearly three weeks after seizing control of the capital Kabul following the Islamist militants’ rapid advance across the country.

Maas said the government forged must include people from outside of the ultraconservative Taliban. In addition, women’s rights must be protected and Afghanistan must not become a “new haven for terrorism,” he said.

“Most people … will not be able to leave Afghanistan because of the closed borders,” said Maas on the issue of humanitarian assistance.

“That’s why you have to help the people in Afghanistan now, and for that you also have to speak to the Taliban.”

“There is a new reality in Afghanistan – whether we like it or not. And we don’t have time to lick our wounds,” he said, alluding to moves by countries like China to gain influence in Afghanistan.

Maas spoke at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Kranj, Slovenia, that was to wrap up on Friday.

Germany cut off development aid after the Taliban’s takeover. However it has pledged humanitarian and emergency aid for the care of refugees in and around Afghanistan. It will be provided through humanitarian aid organizations.

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