Former senior diplomat Ed Cronenberg said on the show that there is no other option but to start talks with the Taliban News & Co. On NPO Radio 1: “The Netherlands is of course not the only one with this problem, many countries have been active there.”
He therefore calls for an EU mission to Afghanistan, with the most important representatives: “Think of President Charles Michel of the European Council, President Ursula von der Leyen of the European Commission and High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell.” For now, the government is looking for it in a smaller context. Outgoing Minister Kaag says the Netherlands is working with France, Germany and the United Kingdom.
But Cronenberg says Europe has a trump card that could make the Taliban willing to negotiate: “The EU has already put in close to €4 billion in development money in Afghanistan and the programs are still ongoing.” Afghanistan is still a very poor country, he says, “so I suppose the Taliban also have an interest in continuing those programs.” However, Cronenburg acknowledges that the Taliban are the mother party in the talks: “They will be able to make demands.”
Another problem is that embassy staff from many countries have left. Kronenburg: “You have to have people on site to arrange some formalities. Some people may need papers to leave the country.” This does not require a fully functioning embassy, says the former diplomat: “There is still a Turkish embassy, Pakistan is there of course, and Qatar. There are options for her to go through those embassies. Or with their help…”
This is how Prime Minister Rutte reacted to halting the evacuations: