The European Union has pledged a one-billion-euro aid package for Afghanistan.
The aid according to the EU, is to avert a major humanitarian and socioeconomic collapse.
It stressed that the EU funds are “direct support” for Afghans and would be channelled to international organisations working on the ground, not to the Taliban’s interim government which Brussels does not recognise.
Tuesday’s conference came as the Taliban held their first face-to-face talks with a joint EU-US delegation in Qatar.
The money adds 250 million euros to a 300-million-euro sum the EU previously announced for urgent humanitarian needs, with the remainder going to Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries taking in Afghans fleeing Taliban rule, a statement said.
Von der Leyen made the pledge at a virtual G20 summit hosted by Italy dedicated to discussing the humanitarian and security situation in Afghanistan.
Her statement stressed that the EU funds are “direct support” for Afghans and would be channelled to international organisations working on the ground, not to the Taliban’s interim government which Brussels does not recognise.
EU development aid, different from humanitarian aid, remains frozen.
“We must do all we can to avert a major humanitarian and socio-economic collapse in Afghanistan. We need to do it fast,” von der Leyen said, observing that winter was approaching.
“We have been clear about our conditions for any engagement with the Afghan authorities, including on the respect of human rights. So far, the reports speak for themselves. But the Afghan people should not pay the price of the Taliban’s actions,” she said.
EU countries are wary at the prospect of a surge of Afghan asylum-seekers trying to enter the bloc, as happened in 2015 with Syrians fleeing their war.