“Calls Kaag in Turkey, Pakistan and Qatar will be understood as recognition”

Talking to the Taliban about the evacuation of Dutch and Afghans who worked for the Dutch army, according to demissionary Foreign Minister Sigrid Kaag, is not recognised by the Taliban as rulers in Afghanistan. Yet the Taliban talks with Kaag will see as recognition, says a former diplomat against Nieuwsuur.

In a formal sense, it‘s not recognition. Only when human rights, such as women’s rights, are respected is that possible. But they will see these conversations as recognition anyway. That‘s what Marten de Boer says in Nieuwsuur. He lived and worked as a diplomat in Afghanistan for years.

Kaag travels to Pakistan, Turkey and Qatar within days. There she will have talks with the foreign ministers of those countries. She doesn’t talk directly to the Taliban, and if the Netherlands does that, together with other countries, is ‘and under strict conditions’, the minister told Nieuwsuur today.

Former diplomat De Boer thinks it‘s a good thing that Kaag visits these countries. It’s really good to visit these countries anyway. The Taliban have good ties with these governments. For example, there is permanent representation of the Taliban in Qatar.

Tough workable appointments

Nevertheless, it won‘t be easy to reach workable appointments, De Boer thinks. The complicated thing is: we are talking about the Taliban as a container concept. But we’re talking about different currents. In Uruzgan, they had five different groups called themselves Taliban. It‘s very different groups. That ranges from very strict believers to a group of criminals. De Boer thinks it’s good to talk to the most progressive Taliban. They are open to conversation. Because they seek legitimacy. Both nationally and internationally.

That legitimacy is far away. Because even though you can make a good deal with the Taliban leadership, that is not to say that there is not a lot of things going wrong at local level. You can make appointments, but there are also local commanders, says De Boer. For example, we still hear the stories that Kabul searches door to door for people who worked for the West. Searches are being done. Many people fear that the weather will be the same as in the 1990s, despite the image that is now being radiated outside.

‘Kaag very suitable’

To prevent this, Western countries join in the discussions about evacuation. That was reaffirmed tonight at a UN Security Council emergency meeting Monday night. A resolution was adopted that stresses that the Taliban must adhere to the promise to allow people who want to travel that. Thirteen countries voted in favour of the resolution, only Russia and China abstained.

The resolution, an initiative of Great Britain, France, the US and Ireland, also demands that Afghanistan should not be a refuge for terrorists and their attack plans. The need for unhindered humanitarian access and respect for human rights, in particular the rights of women, children and minorities, is also highlighted. A UN security zone in Kabul, a proposal from France and Germany, did not make it.

De Boer thinks Kaag can succeed in bringing the evacuees that are still in Afghanistan to the Netherlands. I think Kaag is very suitable for getting this done. She was in the same situation in Syria, and then she came out very well.