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Debates
Tuesday, 12 December 2017 - Strasbourg Revised edition

10. Situation in Afghanistan (debate)
Video of the speeches
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  Președintele. – Următorul punct de pe ordinea de zi este Declarația Vicepreședintelui Comisiei/Înaltului Reprezentant al Uniunii pentru afaceri externe și politica de securitate referitoare la situația din Afganistan (2017/2932(RSP)).

 
  
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  Christos Stylianides, on behalf of the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. – Mr President, dear colleagues, Afghanistan and its people are a priority for the European Union and we definitely care about peace in that country, and the possibility of a national renaissance. The Brussels Conference on Afghanistan was a turning point in our cooperation. We Europeans have stepped up our engagement with Afghanistan, both financially and through a new diplomatic push with regional and international players.

Now, one year later, we can see progress in a number of areas. Key achievements include the National Strategy for Combating Corruption, and also the successful work of the Citizens’ Charter, Women’s Economic Empowerment National Priority Plan, and managing migration in the country. Progress has also been made on budget and fiscal reform; and the government has taken several measures to create a more competitive, export—oriented and job—creating economy.

But the work is not finished. The security situation remains fragile. There have been a number of attacks in Kabul and other areas against security forces and places of worship affecting innocent civilians, including women and children. We are alarmed by the high level of violence and the number of civilian casualties – and, frankly, reconciliation and sustainable peace are the absolute priority for Afghanistan and also for us as the European Union – but a peace process can only be successful if it is led and owned by the Afghans themselves.

The Afghan Government can count on the EU to be a partner in its search for peace. We will not stop working to create the right environment towards a negotiated settlement, including through the work of the recently appointed EU Special Envoy for Afghanistan.

We want to support the country in the areas where it needs it the most. And precisely to discuss these priorities, last February we have signed a Cooperation Agreement on Partnership and Development with the Afghan Government. The Cooperation Agreement is a political commitment to set up a constant dialogue on all the issues we care about, from the economy to migration, from women’s empowerment to human rights.

First, we are with the government as it tries to bolster the country’s fragile economy. This includes support to the rural economy, but also to the fight against drugs as well as illegal mining. Helping to strengthen Afghanistan’s regional connectivity is also quite important for us.

Second, there can be no sustainable development when human rights and fundamental freedoms are not respected. Whilst some progress has been achieved in this field, a lot still needs to be done to improve women’s and children’s rights, to abolish the death penalty, to prevent torture and ill—treatment, to guarantee access to justice and the freedom of expression and to support human rights defenders.

The development of Afghanistan also requires women and girls to be able to contribute in full to the country’s social, economic and political life, as well as to the future peace process. So we are working to empower women in Afghanistan – helping girls go to school, training policewomen, and supporting innovative projects by female entrepreneurs.

Third point, we have started a comprehensive dialogue with Afghanistan on migration. Let us be clear on this: managing human mobility is an interest we share with the Afghan people. We both want the Afghan youth to find better opportunities at home. We both want to prevent that the people of Afghanistan risk their lives in dangerous journeys across the world. We both want also that those who return home can have the opportunity to a better life.

To this end, we have already mobilised almost EUR 200 million to ensure the returnees’ reintegration into society, and we will continue to work in the framework of the Joint Way Forward (JWF), a common political engagement for managing migration in a sustainable way, based on solidarity and dialogue. Finally, we are working to strengthen democracy in the country, and also the rule of law and promoting good governance.

Part of this work is the fight against corruption. The Afghan Government has stepped up its anti-corruption measures and adopted in October a national anti-corruption strategy. Implementation of this strategy is now what truly matters.

We also as the European Union continue to support the civilian aspects of the security sector reform: a new police advisory project will be launched soon.

Next year, in 2018, Afghanistan is expected to hold parliamentary and district elections, followed by presidential elections in 2019. These elections need to be transparent, credible and inclusive, including for women. The Afghan authorities still need to implement a thorough electoral reform to ensure the trust of the electoral stakeholders in the process. We have already committed around EUR 19 million to support and accompany a democratic electoral process.

My dear colleagues, the Afghan people deserve democracy and human rights; they deserve peace and prosperity. The European Union will continue to work with its partners in the Afghan Government to achieve this. It is not an easy goal. At the same time, we will further develop our engagement with our international partners, to make Afghanistan and our common region more peaceful and more prosperous. Our commitment to Afghanistan and its people is here to stay.

 
  
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  Tunne Kelam, on behalf of the PPE Group. – Mr President, the EU and its Member States have cooperated with Afghanistan since 2001 in a joint effort to counter the terrorist surge and create the conditions for stability and sustainable development. Without a stable and secure Afghanistan, there can be no peace and stability in the region as a whole. It has proved a difficult and controversial but also a rewarding task, with encouraging progress in some areas like the economy and education, and renewed problems in others.

Recently, security has been weakened by the increased terrorist activities of the Taliban and the resurgence of al—Qaeda and ISIS groups. Last year, there were about 600 000 newly displaced persons internally.

Our message today is that there is no alternative to the continuation of the strong international engagement under the auspices of the UN. The EU is an important and constructive part of that engagement. It is also crucial to keep the 39 nation NATO—led Resolute Support Mission operating as it is vital for building and strengthening Afghanistan’s security forces and institutions.

Second, striking out the financing of terrorism. The continued production and trade of opium has a devastating impact not only domestically, but also for security internationally. Only an all—inclusive Afghan-led peace and reconciliation process will be a viable way towards a sustainable resolution of the conflict, and I would draw attention to the need to include disarmament and the reintegration of former insurgents as part of that.

 
  
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  Ana Gomes, em nome do Grupo S&D. – Lamento, Comissário, mas é uma vergonha a estratégia da União Europeia para o Afeganistão, assumindo como uma das prioridades um acordo de readmissão assinado sem qualquer escrutínio democrático por este Parlamento. Indo a reboque da retórica anti-imigrantes da extrema-direita na Europa, a estratégia ofusca a realidade trágica no Afeganistão, marcada pelo conflito, ataques terroristas, falhas de governação estruturais num país onde grassa a corrupção, o narcotráfico, onde a violação dos direitos das mulheres, das crianças e da minoria Hazara é sistemática.

Este acordo é desumano, viola os valores da União Europeia. O Afeganistão não é ainda país seguro para ninguém e ainda menos para os requerentes de asilo que estão a ser deportados. Saúdo os pilotos alemães que se vêm recusando a transportá-los de volta. Salvam mais do que a segurança dos voos, salvam a memória e a honra perdidas por tantos na Alemanha e na Europa.

Ao contrário do que a Comissão e o Conselho pretendem, os deportados não regressam a casa, mas são atirados, sem escolha, para a exclusão, deixados à mercê de terroristas e da criminalidade organizada. É no combate ao narcotráfico por boa governação, por educação, justiça, desenvolvimento económico que promova emprego e oportunidades para os jovens que se deve centrar a estratégia da União Europeia para o Afeganistão, assentando sempre no respeito pelos direitos humanos de todos os afegãos, em especial da maioria dos cidadãos violentados que são mulheres e crianças.

 
  
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  Charles Tannock, on behalf of the ECR Group. – Mr President, the situation in Afghanistan does show some signs of improvement, but we must not shy away from the very clear gaps in security that still persist. GDP does still continue to grow. Life expectancy has been extended, and more and more young girls are finding their way into education for the very first time.

The Taliban, nevertheless, poses a sustained and credible security threat, with ISIS and the Haqqani network among the terrorist groups compounding the problem. Attacks against the Supreme Court in February, as well as a blast in the diplomatic quarter of Kabul in May, illustrate this problem only too clearly. Across the country, 2017 has seen a record high in terms of terrorist—caused civilian deaths, the highest number for 16 years.

The link between security at home and security in Afghanistan cannot be ignored, and it is important that this link is continually underlined, particularly in the face of a sceptical public opinion throughout the European Union. It is vital, therefore, that the EU and Member States remain engaged and at the forefront of international efforts to support the Afghan Government in its efforts to stabilise the country in terms of both the economy and security.

 
  
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  Petras Auštrevičius, on behalf of the ALDE Group. – Mr President, last year the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan showed an exceptional international commitment to the country. Today, we have not moved much closer to the overarching goal, which is to achieve Afghanistan’s self—reliance. The EU, together with its Member States, is Afghanistan’s largest donor and this in itself brings us extraordinary responsibilities. However, there is no other solution than that of building a coalition with other international and regional partners, the government and civil society that works even more effectively.

I strongly believe that we should focus on four crucial pillars. To begin with, it is fundamental to continue promoting peace, stability and security. We must aim to achieve an inclusive peace process, as only a regional solution can be sustainable. Secondly, ahead of next year’s elections, we have to advance with the difficult task of state building, with special attention given to women’s rights and the uncompromised fight against corruption. Moreover, we need to accelerate economic and social development. For example, we can explore the ways in which Afghanistan could use its vast mineral potential. Finally, regarding the EU engagement on migration challenges, those coming back home from Europe or its neighbouring countries must find a safe environment with real opportunities to restart their lives. This is essential.

The people of Afghanistan deserve our support and cooperation. We must carry on our common work for each and every one of them and their future, as well as for our success.

 
  
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  Sabine Lösing, im Namen der GUE/NGL-Fraktion. – Herr Präsident! Tägliche Anschläge seit über 16 Jahren, Tausende zivile Opfer, alljährlich Zerstörung der Lebensgrundlagen, Hunderttausende Menschen auf der Flucht, NATO-Truppenaufstockung und unbegrenzter US-Militäreinsatz – klingt das für Sie nach einem sicheren Land, einem sicheren Herkunftsland? Es ist sogar das zweitunsicherste Land der Welt. Um es mit den Worten von Pro Asyl zu sagen: Afghanistan ist kein sicheres Land. Und dennoch werden trotz der desaströsen Sicherheitslage Sammelabschiebungen von EU-Mitgliedstaaten nach Afghanistan durchgeführt, so erst wieder letzten Donnerstag in Deutschland. Was für eine groteske, menschenverachtende Logik!

Auch wenn durchaus manches besser geworden ist, ist doch nichts wirklich gut. Die militärische Seite des Konflikts hat nicht nur zahlreiche Todesopfer mit einer riesigen Dunkelziffer verursacht, sondern auch riesige finanzielle Summen verschlungen. Die Souveränität des afghanischen Staates ist nach über einem Jahrzehnt von den USA und der NATO geführter Interventionen noch immer nicht gewährleistet. Im Gegenteil: Das Land ist höchst abhängig von seinen externen Gebern, die Sicherheit verschlechtert sich weiterhin, die Budgets für zivilgesellschaftliche Aufgaben und Demokratisierung werden gekappt, und die militärische Präsenz, insbesondere die offensiven Operationen, heizt den Konflikt weiter an. Und dennoch soll mit dieser erfolglosen, zerstörerischen Strategie weitergemacht werden.

 
  
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  Bodil Valero, för Verts/ALE-gruppen. – Herr talman! Säkerhetssituationen i Afghanistan har förvärrats igen och enligt FN finns över 1,8 miljoner internflyktingar i Afghanistan. I genomsnitt flyr 1 500 personer per dag internt. Bara år 2016 var det en ökning med 650 000.

Afghanistan är också ett av de fattigaste länderna i världen och situationen förvärras av de sociala och ekonomiska svårigheterna att integrera alla internflyktingar och tusentals afghanska flyktingar som återvänder från närliggande länder dagligen samtidigt som alla afghanska ungdomar också ska in på arbetsmarknaden.

Bara i Pakistan lever 1,7 miljoner afghanska flyktingar och i Iran 1 miljon som myndigheterna där vill skicka tillbaka. Till det ska läggas att också EU-länder, som egentligen bidrar med att ta emot en väldigt liten del av de afghanska flyktingarna, skickar tillbaka t.o.m. ungdomar som varit flyktingar i hela sitt liv och aldrig satt sin fot i landet.

Och hur är det tänkt att Afghanistan ska återhämta sig, nå fred, komma ur fattigdom, korruption, narkotikahandel och klara utmaningen att skapa arbetstillfälle för både dem som redan bor där och dem som återvänder, när den stora faran är att de som sänds tillbaka fångas upp av talibaner, Daesh eller andra kriminella gäng som enda utväg att försörja sig.

Det här löser vi inte genom att bara utöka våra militära insatser eller för den delen de civila. Det som för mig är väldigt problematiskt i vår politik är det motsägelsefulla att samtidigt som medlemsstaterna utökar den militära närvaron i landet p.g.a. försämrad säkerhetsläge så skickar vi afghaner tillbaka mot bakgrund av ett förbättrat säkerhetsläge.

Hur ska vi ha det egentligen? Är det så säkert att man kan åka tillbaka utan problem borde det inte finnas något behov av att skicka fler soldater.

 
  
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  Fabio Massimo Castaldo, a nome del gruppo EFDD. – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, nel libro Eršād al-zerā'a – Guida all'agricoltura, di uno studioso del quattordicesimo secolo, si racconta come in Afghanistan, solo nella zona di Herat, crescessero oltre cento varietà distinte di vite, mandorle, albicocche, melograni, gelsi, pistacchi e fichi. L'Afghanistan era un Eden, con un clima particolarmente favorevole rispetto ai propri vicini.

Oggi l'ONU ci dice che l'Afghanistan ha battuto ogni record di produzione dell'oppio: 9 000 tonnellate di papavero coltivate su 328 000 ettari di terreno; più 87 % di produzione, più 63 % di superficie rispetto al 2016. La maggior parte arriverà sulle nostre strade, trasformato in eroina, e finanzierà l'eterno conflitto afghano, che a distanza di 17 anni dal primo intervento statunitense non accenna a placarsi.

Nel paese si combattono infatti almeno tre guerre parallele: quella contro la droga, quella contro l'insorgenza talebana e quella contro la corruzione. E tutte e tre si stanno perdendo, prova ne sia la decisione di Trump di impiegare 4 000 nuovi uomini in Afghanistan, dopo un 2017 complesso, dove all'insorgenza talebana si è affiancato l'Isis, sempre più attivo e pronto, secondo diversi analisti internazionali, a costruire la propria prossima roccaforte nel paese.

L'Europa invoca giustamente un processo politico a guida afghana, nel quale tutte le parti si possano sedere a un tavolo negoziale: soluzione difficile, soprattutto fino a quando il conflitto continuerà ad essere una gallina dalle uova d'oro per tutte le parti coinvolte; per le forze afghane, che attraverso ufficiali corrotti dirottano verso i ribelli, dietro lauto pagamento, le armi e gli aiuti ricevuti dagli alleati occidentali; e per i talebani stessi, che attraverso la coltivazione dell'oppio, lo sfruttamento delle risorse naturali e diversi altri traffici illeciti, stanno accumulando fortune dell'ordine di miliardi di dollari.

Ci sono però alcuni dati positivi: il PIL pro capite del paese sta crescendo, l'aspettativa di vita si sta allungando, l'accesso alla sanità e alla scolarizzazione aumenta, seppur di poco. Su questi dati bisogna costruire puntando soprattutto sui giovani, che stanno lottando faticosamente per cambiare l'immagine e la gestione del paese.

L'UE dovrebbe attivarsi mettendo in campo politiche che puntino alla loro valorizzazione, che contribuiranno a una maturazione dell'intera società afghana, togliendo, nel contempo, terreno fertile al reclutamento terroristico. Serviranno forse vent'anni, ma è l'unica strada percorribile.

 
  
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  Jean-Luc Schaffhauser, au nom du groupe ENF. – Monsieur le Président, chers collègues, la situation en Afghanistan est un véritable désastre. Elle est d’autant plus dramatique que ce pays est en théorie libéré et démocratique depuis seize ans.

Au niveau sécuritaire, en dehors des grandes villes, le gouvernement de Kaboul est toujours face aux seigneurs de la guerre.

Aux niveaux économique et social, comme mon collègue l’a dit, 9 000 tonnes de drogues sont produites, deux fois plus que du temps des talibans, soi-disant le pire des régimes – et c’était le pire des régimes. Faut-il dire que la production de drogues se fait aussi avec la complicité de l’Occident? Le pavot équivaut à 35 % du PIB, emploie deux millions d’Afghans et, pourtant, il y a plus de 40 % de chômage.

Au niveau géopolitique, le désordre afghan s’est déplacé au Pakistan et, depuis la chute de Musharraf, cette puissance nucléaire, qui avait droit, elle, à sa bombe, est également en totale dérive dans la région.

L’Union ne doit pas rajouter du désordre au désordre en voulant intervenir à tout prix. En réunissant les acteurs régionaux – Iran, Russie, Chine – et en soutenant les équilibres des puissances, elle fera œuvre de paix, et non en intervenant directement.

 
  
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  Jaromír Štětina (PPE). – Pane předsedající, nebezpečí vzniku extrémisty řízeného teokratického jaderného celku Afghánistán – Pákistán stále trvá. Části Pákistánu, jaderné velmoci, Tálibán ovládá. Tentýž Tálibán ohrožoval a ohrožuje sousední Afghánistán. Zejména proto je i dnes zapotřebí, dámy a pánové, mezinárodní kontrola a mezinárodní vojenská přítomnost v Afghánistánu.

Vztahy mezi Evropskou unií a Afghánistánem upravuje dohoda o partnerství a rozvoji. Nová strategie Evropské unie vůči Afghánistánu byla představena letos v červenci. Jsou to užitečné dokumenty podporující stabilitu a regionální bezpečnost. Přesto se však domnívám, že se dostatečně nezabýváme palčivým problémem bývalých afghánských spolupracovníků. Jsou to často občanští zaměstnanci cizích armád. Patří mezi ně i tlumočníci. Spolupracovali s cizí armádou a tím vystavili sebe i svoje rodiny ohrožení. Tisíce afghánských tlumočníků se po odcházejících koaličních jednotkách ocitly bez ochrany.

Potřebujeme pro ně speciální vízová a azylová řešení. Nemůžeme si dovolit hodit je přes palubu, jak se často i v mé zemi, České republice, děje. Mám na mysli tlumočníky u českých jednotek v provincii Lógar. Dáváme je tím na pospas extremistickým islamistickým silám, které využívají pocitů křivdy našich bývalých spolupracovníků.

 
  
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  Pina Picierno (S&D). – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, sono state più di 8 000, nel corso del 2017, le vittime civili registrate in Afghanistan, e uno su tre è un bambino. E basterebbero questi numeri, colleghi, a raccontare di un paese che vive una realtà di guerra quotidiana. Basterebbero questi numeri a raccontarci di come la situazione in Afghanistan rimane gravemente e altamente instabile.

Continuano gli attacchi ad ospedali, continuano gli attacchi ai centri per gli aiuti umanitari, la corruzione rimane a livelli altissimi, così come è incessante il traffico di droga e il traffico illegale di armi, in particolare, dobbiamo dirlo, verso organizzazioni terroristiche. E quindi certamente non possiamo definire l'Afghanistan un paese stabile, non possiamo definire l'Afghanistan un paese sicuro, soprattutto per i suoi stessi cittadini, soprattutto per i bambini, per le donne, e il rientro nel paese di rifugiati, in particolare di coloro che non hanno più una rete sociale o familiare, equivale ad una condanna a morte. Ed è bene ribadirlo anche oggi, è bene ribadirlo in quest'Aula.

 
  
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  Patricia Lalonde (ALDE). – Monsieur le Président, Monsieur le Commissaire, chers collègues, l’Afghanistan est à un tournant. Depuis quelques mois, les combattants de Daech se sont installés dans les provinces de Nangarhar, de Logar et maintenant de Djôzdjân dans le nord de l’Afghanistan. Ils sont entrés dans ces provinces pour aider les combattants talibans et utilisent les femmes et les enfants comme boucliers humains. Un combattant français et un combattant algérien font d’ailleurs partie des combattants de Daech qui viennent juste d’arriver de Syrie, ce qui est très inquiétant.

Le gouvernement d’unité nationale n’est actuellement pas stable et est accusé de corruption. Le président Ashraf Ghani et le premier ministre Abdullah Abdullah doivent trouver un moyen de travailler ensemble plus efficacement. C’est pourquoi il est important que le poste de premier ministre soit officiellement créé dans la Constitution.

Fort heureusement, la décision américaine de rester en Afghanistan est une bonne décision, mais l’ancien chef de guerre Gulbuddin Hekmatyar est entré à Kaboul il y a six mois, accueilli – fait troublant – par le président Ashraf Ghani. Hekmatyar était supposé établir un accord avec les talibans, mais personne ne peut nier que, depuis son arrivée avec ses combattants venant du Pakistan, la situation sécuritaire se détériore très rapidement et aucun progrès n’a été fait sur les négociations avec les talibans afghans. Je parle de ceux qui souhaitent accepter la Constitution actuelle, garantissant notamment les droits de l’homme, la démocratie et surtout les droits des femmes.

La déstabilisation de l’Afghanistan passe aussi par le Pakistan, qui, via ses services de renseignement, renvoie de force les migrants afghans dans leur pays et continue de soutenir les groupes islamistes alliés aux talibans, tels que le réseau Haqqani. La démocratie afghane est, elle aussi, dans une grande instabilité puisque de forts soupçons continuent de peser sur la commission électorale indépendante et la commission des plaintes électorales. L’insécurité du pays et la recrudescence des attaques à Kaboul et dans les provinces nous font craindre que le pays puisse être au bord de la guerre civile et tomber dans les mains des extrémistes.

 
  
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  James Carver (EFDD). – Mr President, our policy in relation to Afghanistan has proved an abject failure. Whilst the last military campaign was relatively successful, the UK has been heavily involved in this country since 2001 and our state-building efforts must now take second place to the ability of the Taliban to use the narcotics trade to build up a huge war chest. Since the retreat from Kabul in 1842, my country has faced various painful interventions here, and it could be reasonably argued that very little has been achieved. Humanitarian intervention has seen much blood and financial expenditure on my country’s part, with little improvement to the lives of many Afghan citizens.

The UK must continue to contribute to international security, attempt to combat the supply of narcotics and of course secure our national interests. Judging by last year’s record opium poppy yield and heroin production figures in Afghanistan, the means by which we do this are not currently working. It is time for a radical rethink.

 
  
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  Lars Adaktusson (PPE). – Mr President, in October, the European Council adopted the new EU strategy for Afghanistan. The Council wants an inclusive peace process although the security situation is worsening. Taliban attacks on both civilian and military targets continue. Given this, it is not acceptable that the Council refrains from mentioning the role of neighbouring Pakistan in harbouring Taliban fighters. Contrary to Pakistani claims that it has solved this problem, the commander of the NATO forces in Afghanistan stated just two weeks ago that Pakistan had yet to act against Afghan Taliban.

As an example, the Haqqani network is still operating from Pakistan. Owing to its brutal attacks on innocent civilians and foreign embassies, Haqqani is considered the most ruthless terrorist network in Afghanistan. Combating Taliban terrorists is imperative for the whole region. Pakistan must take its responsibility for regional stability. Pakistan must not be a safe haven for the Taliban. The EU should say this, and we should say it loud and clear.

 
  
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  Doru-Claudian Frunzulică (S&D). – Mr President, the European Union and its Member States have engaged in a partnership with Afghanistan together with the international community, a partnership underpinned by a common strategic interest in fighting terrorism and extremism. Nowadays, Afghanistan’s situation has improved in terms of economic and social development compared to 2001. However, the progress made so far is threatened by a difficult security situation, with a high level of violence and a high number of casualties, by weak democratic institutions, with an administration in Kabul that controls less and less territory, coupled with a fragile economic framework and difficult state of human rights.

Our commitment to supporting an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process has to remain unabated. I fully welcome the new EU strategy on Afghanistan, which focuses on the necessary conditions for a political solution to the conflict and on developing the country’s institutions and economy while also tackling migration-related issues.

 
  
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  Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE). – Mr President, in the last decade, significant progress has been made in Afghanistan. Millions of children go to school, infrastructure has been built and, despite the resistance of conservative powers, women have far more rights than they did under the Taliban. The recently provisionally applied Cooperation Agreement on Partnership and Development will further strengthen the areas of human rights – particularly the rights of women and children – and rule of law.

However, the war in Afghanistan is returning. The Taliban is again gaining control and influence in parts of the country. With more violence on both sides, the number of civilian casualties is increasing. Judges, government officials and even mullahs are being killed. Corruption and the illicit drug trade are still uncontainable. Many people stopped looking at Afghanistan years ago – the typical fate of long—lasting conflicts – but Afghanistan still remains at the bottom of the World Peace Index, together with Syria.

The number of Afghan people in Europe is increasing rapidly. Therefore, the international community and the European Union in particular has to continue its engagement in Afghanistan to help rebuild the country, develop its economy and fight terrorism. The progress already achieved is very fragile and its sustainment requires further reforms and continuing international support for security and stability in Afghanistan and the entire region.

 
  
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  Boris Zala (S&D). – Mr President, despite many improvements, Afghanistan certainly cannot be counted as a clear success story of international intervention. Sixteen years after toppling the Taliban, we are no closer to a negotiated political settlement that would bring lasting peace. What is now clear is that such a settlement must include Pakistan, which has a huge stake and influence in Afghan stability.

So far Pakistan has failed to play its part. Many Taliban militants still have a safe haven in Pakistan. This must end. This is also where the EU should insert its diplomatic clout, as a partner for democratic governance in Afghanistan, but also as a political power that can help induce Pakistan to be more constructive. The EU can no longer limit itself to economic and developmental aid, but must act as a strategic player in the wider region.

 
  
 

Procedura „catch the eye”

 
  
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  Νότης Μαριάς (ECR). – Κύριε Πρόεδρε, το Αφγανιστάν εδώ και 17 χρόνια, μετά την εισβολή των Ηνωμένων Πολιτειών, βρίσκεται σε μια συνεχή εμπόλεμη κατάσταση. Έτσι έχει μετατραπεί σε προσφυγική βόμβα. Ήδη 1,5 εκατομμύριο αφγανοί πρόσφυγες βρίσκονται στο Πακιστάν, 450.000 βρίσκονται στο Ιράν, πάνω από το 20% των προσώπων που κατέκλυσαν την Ελλάδα το 2015 και τους τελευταίους μήνες προέρχονται απ’ το Αφγανιστάν. Επομένως πρέπει να ενισχυθεί η σταθερότητα, πολιτική και οικονομική, στο Αφγανιστάν, αλλά να αναλάβουν οι χώρες του ΝΑΤΟ που διεξάγουν εκεί πολεμικές επιχειρήσεις να φιλοξενήσουν τους πρόσφυγες. Αυτό ισχύει και για την Κίνα και για τη Ρωσία και για το Ιράν.

Από εκεί και πέρα είναι δεδομένο ότι 10.000 τουλάχιστον Αφγανοί εγκλωβισμένοι στην Ελλάδα πρέπει να μετεγκατασταθούν σε χώρες της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης. Κι όμως ο κύριος Tusk κλείνει τα μάτια και τώρα πλέον ζητά την κατάργηση των υποχρεωτικών ποσοστώσεων κατανομής των προσφύγων στα κράτη μέλη της Ένωσης. Αυτό είναι απαράδεκτο.

 
  
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  Hilde Vautmans (ALDE). – We hebben hier een uitvoerig debat gehoord over de toestand in Afghanistan. We hebben vorig jaar die conferentie gehouden en we zien allemaal dat de situatie eigenlijk niet verbeterd is. Europa is één van de grootste donoren, dus we hebben daar toch wel een belangrijke rol te spelen.

Collega's, ik heb 2 à 3 weken geleden anderhalf uur lang gesproken met een Afghaans vluchtelingenjongetje dat naar Europa werd gesmokkeld door mensensmokkelaars. Het verhaal van zijn route - als ik u dat hier moet vertellen - gaat door merg en been. Gesmokkeld in de koffer van een auto, dagenlang in Turkije over de bergen, kinderen vermoord onderweg, volwassenen vermoord. We moeten inzetten op die mensensmokkelaars. We moeten zorgen dat we die kunnen bestrijden. Meer nog, we moeten natuurlijk zorgen dat de situatie in Afghanistan genormaliseerd wordt en dat mensen daar in vrede met een goede economische ondersteuning hun leven kunnen uitbouwen. Dat is onze verantwoordelijkheid, collega's.

 
  
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  Τάκης Χατζηγεωργίου (GUE/NGL). – Κύριε Πρόεδρε, έχει περιγραφεί επαρκώς από πολλούς συναδέλφους και από όλους η τραγική κατάσταση στο Αφγανιστάν. Συνεχής ένταση, πόλεμος φατριών, πρόσφυγες, φτώχεια και διαφθορά. Η αποκλιμάκωση μπορεί να επέλθει μόνο με αποκλιμάκωση της στρατιωτικής παρουσίας. Φεύγουν χιλιάδες άνθρωποι, οι οποίοι δυστυχώς στη συνέχεια επαναπροωθούνται από χώρες της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης. Πρέπει να κοιτάξουμε και λίγο ευρύτερα, για να λύσουμε το πρόβλημα στον βαθμό που θα μπορέσουμε. Το Πακιστάν είναι η χώρα στην οποία βρίσκουν καταφύγιο και εν πολλοίς ασφάλεια τα μέλη των τρομοκρατικών οργανώσεων. Να ρίξουμε μια ματιά σ’ αυτή τη χώρα και να λάβουμε μέτρα κυρωτικά, αν θέλουμε να δούμε βελτίωση της κατάστασης. Τέλος, ο πόλεμος κατά του εμπορίου οπίου αποτελεί κλειδί για την όποια εξομάλυνση στη χώρα.

 
  
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  Ignazio Corrao (EFDD). – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, da quanto tempo dura la guerra in Afghanistan? Va avanti da 17 anni, è una guerra infinita di cui neanche si parla più nei nostri media, se non in modo sporadico e marginale. È una guerra che si può definire in qualche modo dimenticata. Neanche l'avvento di Trump ha cambiato la tendenza, e il ritiro delle truppe NATO e dei suoi alleati, che inizialmente era stato previsto per il 2014, è stato procrastinato al 2020 e oltre.

Molti dicono che non è giusto lasciare il lavoro prima che sia terminato. Ma di quale lavoro stiamo parlando? La disoccupazione è passata dall'8 al 40 per cento, Kabul è passata da un milione a cinque milioni e mezzo di abitanti, e l'unica attività rilevante è la produzione di oppio. Molti ragazzi si arruolano perché non hanno altra scelta per guadagnarsi da vivere, ma appena possono disertano e vanno via.

Oggi è importante qui accogliere con favore l'iniziativa della Corte penale internazionale di iniziare un'investigazione indipendente sui crimini di guerra e contro l'umanità perpetrati durante il conflitto afghano. Ritengo doverosa e auspicabile una trasparente attribuzione di responsabilità, indipendentemente dalle parti in causa, considerando che c'è il rischio che se ne aggiunga una terza, ossia Daesh.

 
  
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  Ελευθέριος Συναδινός (NI). –Κύριε Πρόεδρε, ο πόλεμος στο Αφγανιστάν αποτελεί καθαρή ήττα για τις Ηνωμένες Πολιτείες και τους συμμάχους των με μεγάλες απώλειες σε ανθρώπινο δυναμικό και κατασπατάληση χρημάτων. Αποτελεί πεδίο έρευνας της στρατηγικής επιστήμης (και δεν αφορά βέβαια άμεσα το Ευρωπαϊκό Κοινοβούλιο) η αναζήτηση των αιτιών που τρεις χρονικά διαφορετικές υπερδυνάμεις, η βρετανική αυτοκρατορία, η Σοβιετική Ένωση και οι ΗΠΑ ηττήθηκαν στο Αφγανιστάν. Πρόσφατα, ο πρόεδρος Τραμπ ανακοίνωσε την αύξηση της στρατιωτικής παρουσίας στη χώρα. Πρέπει λοιπόν να αναρωτηθούμε τους λόγους για τους οποίους αποφασίστηκε αυτό, την ώρα που οι απώλειες των συμμαχικών δυνάμεων είναι σε καθημερινή βάση τεράστιες, ενώ συνεχίζεται το λουτρό αίματος αθώων αφγανών πολιτών και κυριότερα η αθρόα λαθρομετανάστευση προς την Ευρώπη.

Οι λόγοι πασιφανείς: Οι δυτικοί δεν επιθυμούν να αποχωρήσουν αφήνοντας το πεδίο ελεύθερο σε Ρώσους και Κινέζους. Σε μια χώρα πλούσια σε κοιτάσματα σιδήρου, κοβαλτίου, χαλκού, υδρογονανθράκων και κυρίως λιθίου, αλλά και τεράστιο παραγωγικό κέντρο οπίου και λοιπών ναρκωτικών ουσιών. Σε αυτό το διεθνές παιχνίδι εξουσίας η Ευρώπη θα πρέπει να έχει ξεκάθαρη ηγετική θέση στη λήψη αποφάσεων, τον σχεδιασμό για την εκτέλεση των απαιτούμενων ενεργειών σε πολιτικό, στρατηγικό, επιχειρησιακό επίπεδο, επ’ ωφελεία των κρατών μελών και των ευρωπαίων πολιτών.

 
  
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  Malin Björk (GUE/NGL). – Herr talman! Herr kommissionär! Igår flögs ett plan från Sverige. Det skulle ha varit 20 människor på det planet, men tack och lov, tack vare aktivister, advokater och modiga människor som satte stopp, så var det bara 5 personer som åkte med det planet. Men dessa 5 är en sorg.

De åkte till krigets Afghanistan. De skickades dit och jag tycker att det är en skam för EU och för Sverige att dessa utvisningar, dessa tvångsdeportationer får fortsätta, och att EU:s samarbete med Afghanistan till så stor utsträckning går ut på att villkoras med dessa utvisningar.

Jag skulle bara vilja säga tack till de över 200 tyska piloter som har vägrat att lyfta med sina plan till krigets Afghanistan. Varje plan som inte lyfter och landar i Afghanistan med deporterade flyktingar är en seger för oss alla och för medmänskligheten.

Så min fråga är – när kommer ni att sätta stop för den här politiken, kommissionen? När kommer ni att välja mänskliga rättigheter, hopp och medmänsklighet istället för den här typen av rasism och deportationspolitik?

 
  
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  Γεώργιος Επιτήδειος (NI). – Κύριε Πρόεδρε, το Αφγανιστάν είναι μία από τις πλέον ανασφαλείς χώρες του κόσμου. Για 17ο συνεχόμενο χρόνο συνεχίζονται οι πολεμικές συγκρούσεις στη χώρα αυτή, η οποία έχει μεγάλη στρατηγική αξία και στην οποία συγκρούονται τα συμφέροντα πολλών και διαφόρων δυνάμεων. Η κυβέρνηση της χώρας δεν ασκεί ουσιαστικό έλεγχο. Οι Ταλιμπάν και ο ISIS είναι ισχυροί και απειλούν με κατάληψη της εξουσίας. Επιπλέον, δεν υπάρχει καμία δυνατότητα στρατηγικής αντιμετωπίσεως αυτού του κινδύνου. Πρόσφατα το ΝΑΤΟ ανακοίνωσε την αύξηση της δυνάμεως που διατηρεί εκεί κατά 3.000 στρατιώτες.

Η όλη κατάσταση οδηγεί σε λουτρό αίματος στο Αφγανιστάν. Σκοτώνονται κυρίως άμαχοι και η κατάσταση βρίσκεται εκτός ελέγχου. Γι’ αυτούς ακριβώς τους λόγους και επειδή αυτό θα συνεχιστεί, δεν είναι φρόνιμο για την Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση αυτή τη στιγμή να παρέμβει. Θα πρέπει να περάσει ένα χρονικό διάστημα, να εξισορροπηθεί η κατάσταση, να εξομαλυνθεί, και κατόπιν η Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση να επέμβει πολιτικά και διπλωματικά.

 
  
 

(Încheierea procedurii „catch the eye”)

 
  
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  Christos Stylianides, on behalf of the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. – Mr President, I believe this has been a very useful exchange and I thank you so much for your interventions and your contributions in this debate. From this debate I conclude that we all share a common interest in using EU diplomatic power and EU financial instruments to their full potential in support of a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan.

In 2016 the Afghan Government made strong commitments towards self-reliance, responsibility and ownership of its political course and development policy. The European Union, as part of the wider international community, remains firmly committed to supporting the Government and the people of Afghanistan in this endeavour. The Government of Afghanistan’s continued engagement and appropriation of its commitments will be essential for this to be successful.

Our European support to Afghan refugees has been demonstrated in many areas and in many aspects. I personally visited Iran twice to show the tangible European solidarity on the ground in various areas there. In particular, I witnessed in a very demanding field, education in emergencies, our tangible solidarity there. So I strongly believe that, as the European Union, we are fully committed in order to provide any assistance to the Afghan people, not only inside Afghanistan but also outside Afghanistan.

A few words about irregular migration. Irregular migration to Europe is a reality and it needs to be addressed. Together with the country of origin, we do address it from a comprehensive angle in the spirit of the partnership framework, looking in the wider context at the causes of migration: poverty, conflict, insecurity. We are trying to remedy those causes with our instruments, political and diplomatic security, and development cooperation. In our discussions and actions we pay particular attention to sustainable reintegration of returned persons, not only from Europe, but also from the region, from where the biggest numbers of returns take place. It is about creating opportunities in the country of origin so that young Afghans find reasons to build their lives there, and not choose the dangerous irregular migration route and become victims of human traffickers.

Finally, let me thank you and the European Parliament as a whole for your continued support of all efforts leading towards lasting peace, stability and prosperity in Afghanistan.

 
  
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  Președintele. – Propunerile de rezoluție care vor fi depuse în conformitate cu articolul 123 alineatul (2) din Regulamentul de procedură vor fi anunțate ulterior.

Dezbaterea a fost închisă.

Votul va avea loc joi, 14 decembrie 2017.

 
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