Westerners did not have many illusions. The composition of the Taliban government, dominated by the most radical, as well as the blocking of evacuations from Kabul, show how their room for maneuver is reduced in the face of the new regime. The appointment to key positions of veterans of the Islamist movement, often targeted by UN sanctions, has been the subject of a cold shower and arouses critical reactions in Washington as in European capitals.
“The Taliban are looking for international legitimacy. All legitimacy, all support, will have to be won ”, insisted Antony Blinken, Wednesday September 8, the day after the allocation of the main ministerial portfolios. From Ramstein Air Base (Rhineland-Palatinate), the US Secretary of State was speaking alongside his German counterpart, Heiko Maas. Earlier, he had been categorical: “The announcement of a transitional government without the participation of other groups and the violence against protesters and journalists in Kabul are not signs of optimism. ” The two officials took part in a video conference during the day with the heads of diplomacy of some twenty countries still in shock at the Taliban victory. Objective: to try to coordinate their efforts to get the Taliban to keep their commitments.
Since the fall of Kabul on August 15, Americans and Europeans have undertaken to establish unofficial contacts with the new masters of the country, claiming to want to judge them. “On their acts”, according to the established formula. In an emergency, it was first a question of improvising the repatriation of American and European nationals stranded there, as well as the departure of some of the threatened Afghan civilians, often former auxiliaries. An operation carried out in chaotic conditions and considered as a not very encouraging first test.
On both sides of the Atlantic, we then hoped, without much faith, for the establishment of a government representing different sensitivities, as well as the continuation of evacuations and respect for human rights, in particular those of women. “The actions are not in line with the words”, the French foreign ministry commented on Wednesday. However, these three requirements condition any political relations with the Taliban power, especially if the latter cuts the links with jihadist organizations in order to prevent Afghanistan from becoming again a terrorist sanctuary, twenty years after the invasion by the Westerners of Bin Laden’s host country.
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