Procedure : 2017/2932(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0679/2017

Texts tabled :


Debates :

Votes :

PV 14/12/2017 - 8.5
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Texts adopted :


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See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0678/2017

to wind up the debate on the statement by the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

pursuant to Rule 123(2) of the Rules of Procedure

on the situation in Afghanistan (2017/2932(RSP))

Bodil Valero on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group

European Parliament resolution on the situation in Afghanistan (2017/2932(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous reports and resolutions on Afghanistan, in particular its resolution of 13 June 2013 on the negotiations on an EU-Afghanistan cooperation agreement on partnership and development(1), and of 26 November 2015 on Afghanistan, in particular the killings in the province of Zabul(2),

–  having regard to the EU-Afghanistan Cooperation Agreement on Partnership and Development signed on 18 February 2017,

–  having regard to the joint communication from the Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of 24 July 2017 on elements for an EU strategy on Afghanistan (JOIN(2017)0031),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 16 October 2017 on Afghanistan,

–  having regard to the report of the UN Secretary-General of 15 September 2017 on the situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security,

–  having regard to the report of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) of March 2017 entitled ‘Afghanistan’s Fight Against Corruption: The Other Battlefield’,

–  having regard to the report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons of 12 April 2017 on his mission to Afghanistan,

–  having regard to the UN Security Council resolutions on Afghanistan, including resolution 2344 (2017) of 17 March 2017 on the renewed mandate of UNAMA,

–  having regard to the UN Security Council press statements on Afghanistan, notably those of 31 July, 2 August and 17 October 2017,

–  having regard to the testimony of the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction before the Subcommittee on National Security of 1 November 2017,

–  having regard to the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan of 5 October 2016 co-hosted by Afghanistan and the EU, and the Commission press release of 5 October 2016 entitled ‘Brussels Conference on Afghanistan: continued international support for Afghanistan’s political and economic stability and development’,

–  having regard to the report of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) of 14 November 2016 on preliminary examination activities,

–  having regard to the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol,

–  having regard to UN Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) of 31 October 2000 on women, peace and security,

–  having regard to the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) country of origin information report of 23 August 2017 entitled ‘Afghanistan: Key socio-economic indicators, state protection, and mobility in Kabul City, Mazar-e Sharif, and Herat City’,

–  having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas since the US-led NATO military intervention against al-Qaeda and the Taliban began 16 years ago, Afghanistan has achieved neither peace, nor sustainable development, despite considerable progress in access to basic healthcare and education, women’s empowerment, and a rise in life expectancy of 15 years;

B.  whereas according to the recent report by Tadamichi Yamamoto, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Afghanistan and Head of the UNAMA, the Taliban insurgency is gaining ground; whereas the country is marred by deep-rooted political tensions and social and economic difficulties in reintegrating the thousands of Afghan refugees who return each day and the many young Afghans entering the labour market;

C.  whereas according to the UN, corruption in Afghanistan undermines the legitimacy of the state, posing a serious threat to sustainable development by preventing ‘a real economy from emerging’, and is at the heart of the problem of impunity, which itself is at the core of the ongoing human rights challenges;

D.  whereas Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in the world, with economic growth that has stalled remarkably since the withdrawal of a majority of the international security forces in 2014; whereas the economy is highly dependent on foreign economic support and at least 60 % of the state budget is financed by international development aid;

E.  whereas according to the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons (IDPs), there are more than 1.8 million IDPs in Afghanistan as a result of the conflict, with a record 650 000 people fleeing to other areas of the country in search of safety in 2016, representing an average of 1 500 per day; whereas this trend was predicted to increase in 2017; whereas refugees who are forcibly returned, mainly from Pakistan, where there are 1.7 million registered refugees, and Iran, where there are around 1 million registered refugees, but also from Member States, place an additional responsibility on the Afghan Government, at a time when national institutions are entirely lacking in the capacity to deal with the humanitarian challenges;

F.  whereas the ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, announced on 3 November 2017 that she would ask the Court’s judges to open an investigation into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan committed since 1 May 2003, when Afghanistan became a member of the ICC, by actors such as the Taliban, the Afghan authorities and foreign forces;

G.  whereas according to the report of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, the Taliban have gained territory in the east in recent months, some 43 % of districts in Afghanistan are either under their control or are being contested as of August 2017, and Da’esh have been responsible for at least six suicide bombings targeting the Shia population in the past year;

H.  whereas the Shia Hazara, Sikh and Hindu ethnic groups face severe societal discrimination from the Sunni majority, which in combination with the fact that Afghan society is very much based on clan structure and ethnic belonging, is very problematic for the already vulnerable displaced persons and returnees from Iran, the EU and the US, since they are often relocated to areas where they have no social or ethnic connection and thus face stigmatisation and hardship; whereas terrorist attacks attributed to the Taliban or Islamic State have been on the rise in the past year, increasingly also targeting the Shia minority, and whereas attackers have even managed to commit their crimes inside the heavily guarded special security zone of Kabul, which hosts most foreign embassies and international organisations; whereas the healthcare and medical sector is in an especially vulnerable state as a result of continuous attacks on hospitals, medical staff and patients, which constitute a serious breach of international humanitarian law;

I.  whereas according to the UN, the security situation is worsening across the whole of Afghanistan, but is particularly dire in the central and southern regions where civilian fatalities are the highest in the country, where in the first nine months of 2017 there have been over 8 000 civilian casualties and where, the UN notes, there are ‘disturbing trends’ of intentional killings of religious leaders, civilians perceived to support the Government or Afghan national security forces, and members of the judiciary;

J.  whereas Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif has reportedly announced that Pakistan’s influence over the Afghan Taliban is diminishing as a result of the fact that their bases have been moved to the Afghan side of the border, while the Afghan Government continues to hold the view that its neighbours, notably Pakistan but also Russia and Iran, are supporting the insurgents;

K.  whereas in his recently announced Afghanistan strategy, President Trump authorised the deployment of several thousand additional US troops and increased use of US military force in support of Afghan forces’ operations, in an attempt to reverse the Taliban gains and force the insurgents to seek peace talks with the Afghan Government;

L.  whereas at the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan of October 2016, the international community pledged EUR 13.6 billion in financial support for Afghanistan, 5 billion of which came from the EU and its Member States, making the EU as a whole the largest development cooperation partner of Afghanistan, a country in which, in 2017, an estimated 9.3 million people, of which 5.3 million are children, are in need of humanitarian aid, representing an increase of 13 % from 2016;

1.  Welcomes the joint communication from the Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on elements for an EU strategy on Afghanistan as an indication of the importance that the EU as a whole attributes to the resolution of the conflict and long-term development in Afghanistan;

2.  Expresses serious concern about the continuing armed conflict and the resulting general instability in Afghanistan and appeals to the Member States not to forcibly return Afghan nationals to Afghanistan as long as this situation continues; is opposed to the existing informal readmission agreement with Afghanistan (‘Joint Way Forward’), which sets out a framework for cooperation on readmission, decided upon in the absence of due parliamentary oversight and democratic scrutiny and without any monitoring carried out by the EU and its Member States of the situation and the conditions of those who are forcibly returned to Afghanistan;

3.  Underlines the importance of continued assistance to Afghanistan and welcomes the financial engagements confirmed by the EU and the Member States at the Brussels Conference; calls notably for support for initiatives that address the priority needs of internally displaced and returning refugees; draws attention to the EU’s promise to tackle fraud affecting EU funds disbursed to Afghanistan and expects serious scrutiny of past disbursements, too;

4.  Calls for the EU and the Member States to put anti-corruption initiatives with Afghanistan high on their agenda in order to support peace efforts that are inclusive in terms of actors and regional integration;

5.  Welcomes the continued EU focus on the enhancement of the role and rights of Afghan women and recognises the need to train female police officers, as women in civil society are particularly vulnerable to violence and abuse, while male police officers have a hand in the continuous harassment of women on the streets;

6.  Calls on the Government of Afghanistan to increase political inclusiveness, strengthen accountability and actively combat the culture of corruption and nepotism; welcomes notably, in this respect, the establishment of the Anti-corruption Justice Centre in June 2016 whose purpose is to investigate and prosecute major corruption cases and take steps towards merit-based recruitment in the public service sector and asset declarations for officials;

7.  Welcomes Afghanistan’s recent membership of the Open Government Partnership and its membership of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative; urges the Government to step up efforts to protect vital public resources such as land and minerals from exploitation by criminal and insurgent networks;

8.  Notes the recommendations of the UNAMA report, first and foremost the need for the Government to implement the reforms already undertaken, such as the revised penal code, so as to establish a transparent and effective public management system, and to establish an independent anti-corruption secretariat within the Government;

9.  Notes, in addition, the UNAMA’s call for continued support and assistance from the international community for the Afghan Government’s anti-corruption efforts and calls on the Government to enhance national capacity to recover stolen assets through programmes such as the Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative run by the World Bank Group and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime;

10.  Calls on the Afghan Government to take further steps to eliminate the torture and ill-treatment of detainees and to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture;

11.  Welcomes the decision of the ICC Prosecutor to commence an investigation into possible crimes against humanity committed in Afghanistan since 2003 and calls on all governments that have contributed troops to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission and/or the international coalition supporting the ‘war on terror’ to fully cooperate with the ICC in its inquiry;

12.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Government and Parliament of Afghanistan, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council and the Commission.


OJ C 65, 19.2.2016, p. 133.


OJ C 366, 27.10.2017, p. 129.

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