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Western nations have been reluctant to officially recognize the rule of the Taliban in Afghanistan — but deem talking with the Islamist group necessary. The makeup of a new government could determine the tone of ties.
The Taliban said Thursday they were close to forming a new government, two weeks after they seized power in Afghanistan.
Local media reports suggested the announcement of a cabinet was imminent, and a member of the fundamentalist group said it was preparing a ceremony at the presidential palace, according to Reuters news agency.
The Afghan government's legitimacy in the eyes of international donors and investors will be crucial for the economy of Afghanistan amid a drought and food shortages.
European Union officials have admitted that the bloc needs to engage with the Taliban, but said it will not rush into formally recognizing the group as the new rulers of Afghanistan.
Several European countries are seeking talks with the Taliban, who now control the Kabul airport, to resume evacuation efforts and deliver humanitarian aid.
"We need to engage with the Taliban [...] but we will not rush into recognizing this new formation, nor into establishing official relations," Gunnar Wiegand, the European Commission's managing director for Asia and the Pacific, told members of the European Parliament on Wednesday.
The EU is also hoping its aid money gives it leverage over the Taliban.
Britain also has no immediate plans to recognize the Taliban's government, although it sees engaging with them as necessary, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Thursday.
The United States has a similar stance to the EU's, with formal recognition of the Taliban's rule being contingent on the group's actions.
"They've got a lot to prove based on their own track record [...] now they also have a lot to gain, if they can run Afghanistan, far, far differently than they did the last time they were in power," US Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland said Wednesday.
Top US General Mark Milley suggested that working with the Taliban on counterterrorism strikes against IS-K group in Afghanistan was "possible."
But he was cautious, telling reporters in Washington: "We don't know what the future of the Taliban is, but I can tell you from personal experience that this is a ruthless group [...] And whether or not they change remains to be seen."
fb/sms (AFP, AP, Reuters)