Relations with the Taliban: Merkel wants to negotiate local staff

Status: 05.09.2021 5:19 p.m.

The Taliban want stable relations with Germany – and Chancellor Merkel is at least ready to negotiate with the radical Islamists about the departure of local staff. After all, the Taliban had created facts in Afghanistan.

What could Germany’s relations with the radical Islamic Taliban look like after they came to power in Afghanistan? The federal government is at least ready for talks, probably also because there are still many former local employees in the country.

“As far as the Taliban are concerned, of course we have to talk to them because they are now the ones who have to be addressed,” said Chancellor Angela Merkel at a press conference with NRW Prime Minister Armin Laschet. Merkel said that people who had worked for German development organizations in particular and who felt they were at risk could still be taken out of the country.

Laschet also took the view that it was necessary to speak to the Taliban. He said that clear conditions would then have to be formulated for the international community under which cooperation would be possible.

Taliban want good relations

The Taliban had previously stated through their spokesman Sabiullah Mujahid that they wanted a good relationship with Germany: “We want strong and official diplomatic relations with Germany,” said Mujahid to “Welt am Sonntag”. Accordingly, the Taliban want above all financial support, humanitarian aid and cooperation in health, agriculture and education.

The Germans have always been welcome in Afghanistan, Mujahid told the newspaper. Even at the time of the kingdom about 100 years ago, the Germans had done a lot of good in Afghanistan. “Unfortunately, they then joined the Americans. But that is now forgiven,” said Mujahid.

Dependent on conversations because of those seeking protection

Germany is dependent on talks with the Taliban because it wants to enable more people seeking protection to leave the country after the military evacuation campaign has ended. Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said a few days ago: “If it were politically possible and if the security situation allows it, then Germany should have its own embassy again in Kabul.” The SPD politician also emphasized that diplomatic representation does not mean recognition of a Taliban government.

The EU had already agreed on terms to the Taliban for diplomatic relations and support.

The German government closed the embassy in Kabul after the Taliban’s triumphant advance. Ambassador Markus Potzel was sent to Doha in Qatar to hold talks with the Islamists. In the capital of the Gulf emirate, the Taliban operate their political office, which functions as a kind of foreign ministry. However, the first Taliban representatives have already returned to Afghanistan from Doha. That is why there are considerations of how to maintain the “short line” to the new rulers.

Taliban want diplomatic relations with Germany

Martin Polansky, ARD Berlin, 5.9.2021 9:47 a.m.

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