Motion for a resolution - B9-0462/2021Motion for a resolution

    MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the situation in Afghanistan

    14.9.2021 - (2021/2877(RSP))

    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 132(2) of the Rules of Procedure

    Petras Auštrevičius, Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, Olivier Chastel, Klemen Grošelj, Bernard Guetta, Svenja Hahn, Karin Karlsbro, Ilhan Kyuchyuk, Nathalie Loiseau, Karen Melchior, Javier Nart, Jan‑Christoph Oetjen, Urmas Paet, Samira Rafaela, Frédérique Ries, María Soraya Rodríguez Ramos, Nicolae Ştefănuță, Ramona Strugariu, Dragoş Tudorache, Hilde Vautmans
    on behalf of the Renew Group

    See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B9-0455/2021

    Procedure : 2021/2877(RSP)
    Document stages in plenary
    Document selected :  
    Texts tabled :
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    Texts adopted :


    European Parliament resolution on the situation in Afghanistan


    The European Parliament,

     having regard to its previous resolutions on Afghanistan,

     having regard to the statement of 3 September 2021 by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) Josep Borrell at the press conference following the informal meeting of Foreign Affairs Ministers (Gymnich),

     having regard to the completion of the withdrawal from Afghanistan of the United States Armed Forces on 30 August 2021,

     having regard to the EU Guidelines for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of the Child, on Children and Armed Conflict, and on Human Rights Defenders,

     having regard to the UN international donor conference on Afghanistan on 13 and 14 September 2021 in Geneva,

     having regard to Rule 132(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

    A. whereas the crisis in Afghanistan is first and foremost a tragedy for the Afghan people, but is also putting the EU’s own security at risk; whereas the US, other NATO and EU countries and members of the international community were present in Afghanistan alongside the Afghan Government and the Afghan armed forces for two decades; whereas the absence of a serious exit strategy accelerated the collapse of the Afghan army, the victory of the Taliban and an intensified humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan; whereas the EU should draw the requisite conclusions from this collective failure and prepare for its consequences for our security, including an increased threat of terrorism;

    B. whereas the Taliban have proclaimed the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and have already started to impose numerous repressive measures reversing the achievements of the Afghan people of the past 20 years that were supported and facilitated by the EU and the international community; whereas Afghan women and girls, and ethnic, religious and other vulnerable groups will suffer the most from the already ongoing suppression of their basic rights;

    C. whereas the Taliban have taken power by force and the caretaker government they have appointed is neither inclusive, legitimate nor accountable to the Afghan people;

    D. whereas the Taliban’s caretaker government includes persons responsible for acts of terrorism, including former detainees, individuals under UN sanctions and a person on an FBI most wanted list; whereas many members of the Taliban’s caretaker government are holders of passports issued by Pakistan;

    E. whereas the Taliban’s caretaker government was formed without keeping the Taliban’s promises of an inclusive government; whereas the Ministry of Women’s Affairs has been dismantled; whereas the Taliban do not envisage continuous participation of women in leadership roles in Afghanistan, are persecuting women leaders, officials and activists, and are using lethal force to disperse women’s rights protests; whereas there is a well-founded fear that the Law on Elimination of Violence Against Women, which imposes criminal penalties for child and forced marriages, domestic violence and numerous other abuses against women, will be repealed;

    F. whereas the Taliban’s caretaker government has issued a countrywide ban on protests and has started a crackdown on the free media, including the detention of and assaults on journalists and imposing new restrictions on media work; whereas the Taliban use propaganda to spread hatred towards the West and the EU;

    G. whereas the Taliban are facing the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan (NRF) in the Panjshir Valley led by Ahmad Massoud; whereas Pakistan is assisting the Taliban in fighting the NRF by supplying its special forces and providing air support; whereas Taliban fighters have been provided with safe havens in Pakistan for many years;

    H. whereas the Commission has neither coordinated the evacuation efforts involving European nationals and Afghan citizens working for the EU and its Member States, nor has it been able to set up a genuine European airlift; whereas the evacuation of EU nationals and Afghans at risk who wish to flee is not over and requires unity between the EU and its Member States, including a communication channel with the Taliban;

    I. whereas several planes with Western citizens and Afghans remain stranded in Mazar-i-Sharif International Airport, as the Taliban are refusing them permission to depart the country;

    J. whereas communication with the Taliban should by no means lead to the removal of the existing sanctions against its members;

    K. whereas the terrorist threat remains a major challenge; whereas jihadists around the world feel emboldened by the Taliban’s takeover;

    L. whereas Afghans have been fleeing their country for years and have sought refuge primarily in neighbouring countries, but also in Europe; whereas an increase in the number of Afghans migrating to Europe may take place via the familiar route through Turkey, as well as possibly via new routes at the eastern border of the EU, notably through Belarus;

    M. whereas the American withdrawal from Afghanistan was planned, decided on and implemented without sufficient consultation of its European allies;

    N. whereas Resolute Support was the most important long-term NATO mission outside of the North Atlantic area; whereas it failed in building a strong Afghan army and in preventing the victory of the Taliban;

    O. whereas the evacuation of EU nationals and Afghans facing serious threats relied on immense efforts of the diplomatic, police and military staff present on the ground and on the support of the US military;

    P. whereas there is an urgent need to draw lessons from NATO’s 20 years of engagement in Afghanistan, as well as from the presence of an EU common security and defence policy (CSDP) mission, the European Union Police Mission (EUPOL) in Afghanistan, from 2007 to 2016;

    1. Expresses its strong concerns about the future of Afghanistan now that the Taliban have taken over the country by military means and are imposing radical sharia law, depriving the Afghan people of the basic rights and freedoms they have enjoyed over the past 20 years; expresses its deepest condolences and support to the victims of ongoing violations and terror attacks, and to their families;

    2. Expresses its disappointment at the failed leadership of President Ashraf Ghani and his decision to flee Afghanistan; calls for an investigation into allegations of possible misappropriation of funds from the Afghan budget by President Ghani;

    3. Condemns in the strongest terms the alarming increase in violence and the suppression of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Afghanistan, particularly against women, girls and journalists; is appalled by various reports indicating that extrajudicial killings, torture, public beatings, mutilation and rape are being conducted by Taliban soldiers, including the suspected killing of the Afghan policewoman Banu Negar who was eight months pregnant; urges the Taliban to end these practices immediately and safeguard Afghan women’s rights to education, work, sport, free movement, assembly and association, inter alia;

    4. Highlights the need for documentation, transparent and prompt investigations of reports of all violations and abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law, and to hold those responsible to account; supports the use of the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime (the EU Magnitsky Act) in this regard; calls on the Commission to take the lead on this matter with the active engagement of the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, and is ready to contribute via its own mechanisms similar to the Platform on the fight against impunity in Belarus;

    5. Is deeply concerned about the unfolding humanitarian, economic and migration crisis in Afghanistan; believes that only a stable and inclusive government, which represents the various ethnic groups and minorities, and which respects fundamental human rights, will be able to end the free fall of the Afghan economy; strongly disapproves of the fact that only men have been appointed as members of the new government, which sends a strong negative signal that the Taliban remain hostile to any form of representation of women in the public sphere;

    6. Emphasises that European financial support via the authorities is conditional on preserving and building upon the achievements of the past 20 years, especially the rights of women and girls; insists that the Taliban must demonstrate respect for and a commitment to safeguarding these achievements, which they have not done so far; as regards humanitarian assistance to Afghan civilians in need, stresses that the EU should make sure it is channelled through the relevant international organisations and NGOs, and should insist that the Taliban must ensure safe and unhindered access to local and international NGOs;

    7. Acknowledges that operational engagement with the Taliban’s new caretaker government is needed for logistical, operational and humanitarian matters, in order to provide humanitarian assistance to civilians in need and safe passage for foreign nationals and Afghans seeking to leave the country; points out that these contacts should remain strictly limited to the relevant purposes at this stage, but avoid any impression of a possible recognition of the Taliban, and that international sanctions against Taliban members have to be maintained;

    8. Emphasises that the conditions have not been met for the political recognition of the de facto Taliban rulers who have assumed power by military means and are currently destroying the achievements of the last 20 years;

    9. Notes with the utmost concern the appointment as Minister of Interior of Sirajuddin Haqqani, whose links with terrorist activities have been extensively documented, and the presence of several individuals under UN sanctions in the de facto Taliban government;

    10. Insists on continued direct EU support for Afghan politicians and civil society activists committed to human rights and fundamental values, many of whom are now in exile, so that they can continue to work to preserve the achievements of the last 20 years and to pursue reforms in Afghanistan; calls on the Taliban to maintain the orderly functioning of Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport to allow for further evacuations and to ensure that humanitarian goods and aid workers can reach Afghanistan safely and without obstacles; urges the Taliban to allow the safe departure of planes from Mazar-i-Sharif International Airport with Western citizens and Afghans at risk who wish to flee;

    11. Calls for the EU and its Member States to work together to facilitate the further evacuation of EU citizens and Afghans at risk, especially Afghan women elected officials, judges, scholars, journalists, human rights activists, health workers, civil servants and many others who are now in mortal danger for their criticism of the Taliban and their active participation in Afghan politics and other open society activities;

    12. Understands the need for a regular dialogue with Afghanistan’s neighbours and regional actors, notably India, Iran, Central Asian countries and Pakistan, focusing on the safe exit of Western nationals and Afghans at risk, ensuring the access of humanitarian assistance and aid workers, and tackling the spread of terrorism and organised crime, including the smuggling of drugs and human trafficking; stresses that this cooperation should not undermine the EU’s defence of fundamental values and the rule of law;

    13. Recalls that for many years Pakistan provided safe havens for Taliban members, as well as assistance to its security forces in taking over Afghanistan; instructs the European External Action Service (EEAS) to convey to Pakistan’s leadership that it bears responsibility for security and stability in Afghanistan and that Pakistan’s influence on the Taliban will be taken into account when considering the renewal of the Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) and to weigh up whether there is reason to immediately review Pakistan’s eligibility for GSP+ status in the light of current events and whether there is sufficient reason to initiate a procedure for the temporary withdrawal of this status and the benefits that come with it; recalls further that, in addition to the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime (the EU Magnitsky Act), the EU also has a country-focused sanctions mechanism to address human rights violations and abuses;

    How to address the humanitarian and migration crisis

    14. Praises the work of international organisations and local and international NGOs, which provide services, assistance and relief to the Afghan people despite the security risks; calls on the Taliban to ensure the safety of local and international civil society organisations, NGOs and humanitarian organisations, including their female staff, which is essential for providing critical services to Afghan women and girls; stresses that these women humanitarian aid workers must be able to work freely and without fear of retaliation;

    15. Stresses that with more than 18 million people in need of assistance, the situation in Afghanistan is one of the largest humanitarian crises in the world; welcomes the Commission’s decision to increase humanitarian support for Afghanistan from over EUR 50 million to more than EUR 200 million; notes that the dedicated funds do not meet the needs outlined in this year’s UN Humanitarian Response Plan for Afghanistan and calls on the Commission to lead advocacy efforts to galvanise other donors’ support;

    16. Urges the Commission to sustain direct funding to frontline NGOs and to UN agencies in order to address the emergency needs of the Afghan population, in particular women and children; insists that investments in trying to keep Afghanistan a liveable country will be necessary; calls for the funding for NGOs and humanitarian organisations working on protecting and expanding women’s rights on the ground to be increased; reiterates its call to follow closely the situation of Afghan women, girls and minorities, and to thoroughly assess and evaluate it on a daily basis;

    17. Believes that a proportion of EU development funds should be earmarked for international organisations and NGOs providing access to education, addressing gender based-violence and sexual and reproductive health issues, and providing counselling and facilities for women and girls;

    18. Encourages the development of innovative ways to continue empowering Afghan women and young people, particularly by providing scholarships to study at European schools and universities; calls on academic and educational institutions in the Member States to consider setting up free online access to courses for Afghan women and girls, as well as organising courses in Pashto and Dari; underlines the importance of these forms of academic solidarity in safeguarding the right to education of women and girls in Afghanistan; calls on the Commission to explore ways to support these types of initiatives;

    19. Stresses that the largest proportion of Afghan refugees will seek protection in neighbouring countries first and foremost, and that the EU should therefore plan to provide additional support to Afghanistan’s neighbouring refugee-hosting countries, preferably via the UN and its agencies, as well as international organisations on the ground; calls for solidarity among the Member States and for them to urgently agree on a joint strategy on how to deal with Afghan refugees in need of protection; stresses that this strategy should include, as a matter of priority, an expansion of resettlement for those who are most at risk and most vulnerable, as well as further complementary pathways, such as humanitarian visas and a special visa programme for Afghan women seeking protection from the Taliban regime; calls on the Member States to make use of available safe and regular instruments such as family reunification and proceed to the activation of the Temporary Protection Directive; insists that the Member States should prepare their asylum systems for an increasing number of asylum applications from Afghanistan in order to guarantee rapid access to fair asylum procedures; believes that the EU must urgently conclude and implement its New Pact on Asylum and Migration so as to be able to deal with migration flows in a more effective and humane manner;

    20. Urges the Commission and the EEAS to closely follow situation in the Panjshir Valley where the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan is resisting the Taliban’s attacks and to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe resulting from food disruption and the lack of critical services;

    How to address the terrorist threat

    21. Stresses that the imminent terrorist threat in Afghanistan as a result of the Taliban takeover must be prominently addressed in the EU’s Strategic Compass which will outline the military threats faced by the EU and its ambitions for the coming years;

    22. Expresses deep concern about the threat posed by terrorism to Afghanistan and the region; recalls that of 72 internationally listed terrorist organisations, 18 are present in Afghanistan, in particular the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL-Daesh) and their affiliates, in particular ISIL-Khorasan Province and Al-Qaida; is concerned that military ammunition left behind by international forces and the Afghan armed forces could fall into the hands of various terrorist groups and radicals;

    23. Urges European intelligence services to increase the sharing of regularly updated threat analyses in order to enhance intelligence sharing and institutional cooperation;

    24. Condemns all terrorist activity and all terrorist attacks in Afghanistan; underscores the importance of the effective fight against financing of terrorism and of dismantling financial networks supporting terrorism; is very worried about the findings of the UN Monitoring Team’s report indicating that the relationship between the Taliban and Al-Qaida has grown deeper;

    Wake-up call for the European Union

    25. Takes note of the lack of a serious exit strategy on the part of the US despite the decision to withdraw from Afghanistan having been taken well in advance; takes note of differences in the assessment of the situation among EU Member States and with the EEAS, which led to most embassies being caught by surprise by the Taliban’s entry into Kabul; notes that a more realistic assessment of the situation would have allowed for a better organisation of the evacuation of EU nationals and endangered Afghan nationals; stresses that this lack of foresight resulted in many Afghans who worked for or collaborated with Western forces being left behind, not only in Kabul but also throughout the country in Herat, Kandahar, Jalalabad, Kunduz and other areas, where there is no international presence; is deeply concerned about how this will affect the credibility of the US and its allies, including the EU; notes that for the EU and its Member States, the situation has underlined their high dependence on the US military for their evacuation operations;

    26. Expresses its deep frustration and concern at the ineffectiveness of the, US, NATO, the EEAS and the European Union institutions as a whole over a 20-year period, including this Parliament, in maintaining and funding the facade of a democratic government, in reality corrupt and alien to the people, as well as armed forces that have proven to be ineffective; expresses its concern at the fact that our collective failure in Afghanistan means a strategic advantage for non-Western powers, China and, to a lesser extent, Russia, without their having provided significant support to and been involved in the development of Afghanistan;

    27. Stresses the need to recognise and analyse our responsibility, including the failure to listen to those on the ground who were truly familiar with the situation and conveyed it on numerous occasions;

    28. Calls on the EEAS to strengthen the EU’s diplomatic representation in Central Asia, in particular in Tajikistan, in order to be able to receive first-hand information about developments on the ground; insists that the situation in Afghanistan, especially concerning women and girls, ethnic, religious and other vulnerable groups, continue to be assessed and evaluated in the coming weeks and months;

    29. Urges the Council, the EEAS and the Commission to prepare and present to Parliament, as soon as possible, a comprehensive lessons-based strategy towards Afghanistan and the surrounding countries in the region;

    30. Calls for the organisation of an EU institutions mission to Kabul when circumstances allow, in order for its participants to familiarise themselves with the humanitarian, migration, economic, and security situation and the state of women’s and minorities’ rights in Afghanistan;

    31. Calls on the VP/HR and the Council to urgently engage in a thorough effort to draw lessons from the conditions of the evacuation of EU nationals and endangered Afghan nationals in order to continue the evacuation and improve the EU’s readiness and preparedness to confront crisis situations;

    32. Believes that this crisis proves the need for the EU to reinforce significantly its capacity to act autonomously and to take much more responsibility for building a genuine European Defence Union; is convinced that expanding and deepening the European Defence Union is necessary to help achieve these goals; in this sense, calls on Member States to significantly increase their defence spending; insists that these efforts should go hand in hand with the strengthening of the European pillar of NATO;

    33. Calls for the EU to carefully draw lessons from our 20-year engagement in the country so as to serve our current and future CSDP missions and operations, and to feed into the Strategic Compass; calls on the Member States to make use of the existing battle groups, for example as a ‘rapid entry force’ that should be used in the future to secure a safe area and facilitate evacuations in comparable situations;

    34. Recognises the importance of close cooperation with the US focused on addressing emerging migration and security challenges, and providing humanitarian support for the Afghan people, while taking into account the lessons learned in Afghanistan; expresses appreciation to the US military for their evacuation support and expresses its deepest condolences to the families of the troops who died in the process;

    35. Calls for the EU and the UK to start in-depth discussions on cooperation in foreign policy, security and defence, as it is more obvious than ever before that we face common challenges;

    36. Calls for the EU to invite Ahmad Massoud, the resistance leader of the Panjshir minority and son of Ahmad Shah Massoud, the former Minister of Defence of Afghanistan and military commander against the Taliban, to a hearing in the Council and the European Parliament;



    ° °

    37. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the EU Special Envoy for Afghanistan, and the EU Special Representative for Human Rights.


    Last updated: 15 September 2021
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