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Germany firm on conditions for relationship with Taliban

September 23, 2021

As the Taliban government pushes to be recognized by the international community, Germany has listed a set of requirements that need to be satisfied.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas pictured participating in an international virtual ministerial conference on Afghanistan from Germany's Permanent Mission in New York, as the 76th session of the UN General Assembly takes place
Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the Taliban government needs to stick to a set of demands if there is to be some form of relationshipImage: Bernd von Jutrczenka/dpa/picture alliance/dpa

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has listed a set of demands which the Taliban government need to abide by if there is to be some form of relationship going forward.

Maas told DW that communication with the Taliban would be dependent on these key areas.

"What's important is the demands we have communicated to the Taliban as regards maintaining human rights, especially women's rights, an inclusive government and that they distance themselves clearly and unequivocally from terrorist groups, and that there are finally hard facts alongside the pleasant words."

Taliban push to be recognized

The Taliban government has requested that Suhail Shaheen who is their new UN representative, be allowed to make an address before the 76th session of UN General Assembly,currently underway in New York.

Speaking to news agency The Associated Press, Shaheen said: "We have all the requirements needed for recognition of a government, so we hope the UN, as a neutral world body recognize the current government of Afghanistan."

Maas didn't appear to be too taken by this request telling DW: "I don't think performances at the United Nations are helpful. In my opinion, an address to the General Assembly of the United Nations is not the appropriate forum to bring progress in this matter."

Communication with Taliban important

Germany has said that there needs to be some form of political dialogue with the Taliban because they would now be the gatekeepers of humanitarian aid.

That would not be possible without engagement.

On the topic of communicating with the militant group, Maas said:  "I think it's right that we talk with the Taliban. For that, a number of channels have emerged in recent weeks."

EU officials set terms for engaging with Taliban

The German foreign minister had also addressed a G20 video conference where the same points were highlighted.

Maas described Afghanistan as "the most formidable challenge” facing the global community.

The Taliban have already foregone one of the key requirements, that being an inclusive government. "This decision will make it more difficult to maintain contact with them.”

World powers call for stable government

All five permanent members of the UN Security Council reached a consensus urging the Taliban to be more inclusive in governance.

The Security Council wants "a peaceful and stable Afghanistan where humanitarian aid can be distributed without problems and without discrimination," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.

World powers seek "an Afghanistan where the rights of women and girls are respected, an Afghanistan that is not a sanctuary for terrorism, an Afghanistan with an inclusive government representing all sections of the population," he said.

kb/aw (AFP, dpa)