Italy rules out recognising Taliban govt

DailyTimes  |  Sep 27, 2021

Italian Foreign Affairs Minister Luigi Di Maio has said the Taliban government in Afghanistan could not be recognised but said Afghans should start receiving the financial support that was frozen after the armed group took power last month.

He urged foreign governments to prevent a financial collapse there that would result in a massive flow of migrants.

“Recognition of the Taliban government is impossible since there are 17 terrorists among the ministers, and the human rights of women and girls are continuously violated,” Di Maio told state-owned television Rai 3 on Sunday.

“Clearly, we must prevent Afghanistan from implosion and from an uncontrolled flow of migration that could destabilise neighbouring countries,” Di Maio, who chaired a meeting of G20 foreign ministers in New York last week, said.

“There are ways to guarantee financial support without giving money to the Taliban. We have also agreed that a part of humanitarian aid must always go to the protection of women and girls.”

Italy holds the annual, rotating presidency of the G20 and is looking to host a special summit on Afghanistan.

The G20 countries, together with Afghanistan’s neighbours, are committed to fight against terrorism, and to work for the protection of human rights, Di Maio added.

On Friday, the United States Treasury Department said it issued two general licences, one allowing the US government, NGOs and certain international organisations, including the United Nations, to engage in transactions with the Taliban or Haqqani Network – both under sanctions – that are necessary to provide humanitarian assistance.

The Taliban seized control of the country last month as foreign forces allied with the US withdrew from Afghanistan after a 20-year war. The events culminated in the capture of the capital, Kabul, on August 15, two decades after the Taliban was driven from power by a US-led campaign following the September 11 attacks on the United States.

The UN said that at the start of the year more than 18 million people – about half of Afghanistan’s population – require aid amid the country’s second drought in four years.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said last week that Afghanistan is on “the verge of a dramatic humanitarian disaster” and has decided to engage with the Taliban in order to help the country’s people.

Meanwhile, the Taliban government in Afghanistan on Sunday (September 26) urged the international airlines to resume flights to and from Kabul, claiming that all technical issues at the country’s main airport have been resolved.

In a statement, Abdul Qahar Balkhi, the newly appointed spokesman for the ministry of foreign affairs, said the Taliban hoped proper commercial services would resume shortly and promised full cooperation.

“Many Afghan citizens were stuck outside and unable to return to their homeland. Moreover, many Afghan citizens who have international employment or pursue education abroad are now facing difficulties in reaching their destinations,” he said. The statement from the foreign affairs ministry comes as the new administration has stepped up efforts to open up the country and gain international acceptance following the collapse of the Western-backed government last month.

A limited number of aid and passenger flights have been operating from the airport. But normal commercial services have yet to resume since it was closed in the wake of the chaotic evacuation of tens of thousands of foreigners and vulnerable Afghans that followed the Taliban’s seizure of the capital.

The airport, which was damaged during the evacuation, has since been reopened with the assistance of technical teams from Qatar and Turkey.

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