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European Union won’t hold talks with Taliban

The EU Commission President Ursula von der said that the European Union has not recognised the Taliban nor is it holding political talks with the militants

The European Union has not recognised the Taliban nor is it holding political talks with the militants, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Saturday.

"We may well hear the Taliban's words but we will measure them above all by their deeds and actions," Reuters cited von der Leyen as saying at a news conference.

She said the Commission was ready to provide funding to EU countries which help resettle refugees. The resettlement issue will also be raised at a G7 meeting next week.

The EU has been accepting migrants from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq with the number exceeding the one million mark in 2015.  However, it has now drastically reduced the number of refugees it is willing to take after an agreement with Turkey which receives EU funds to host asylum seekers in its territory.

The chief of the EU executive made the statement after visiting a reception centre in Madrid for Afghan employees of EU institutions evacuated from Kabul.

Von der Leyen said she would propose an increase in the 57 million euros ($67 million) in humanitarian aid which the Commission had allocated this year for Afghanistan.

She pointed out that EU development aid is tied to respect for human rights, good treatment of minorities and respect for the rights of women and girls.

At their first press conference after coming to power, the Taliban on Tuesday projected a softer stand on women’s rights saying they would be allowed to work but it would be in accordance with Islamic law.

“Women would be allowed to work and study and will be very active in society but within the framework of Islam," Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said.

He said that in some fields such as hospitals and education women would be allowed to work.

However, people are still sceptical on the issue as Taliban fighters have stopped women from going to work and girls from attending school in the provinces they had captured earlier.

During their 1996-2001 rule, also guided by Islamic sharia law, the Taliban stopped women from working. Girls were not allowed to go to school and women had to wear burqas to completely cover themselves from head to toe in order to go out and that too only when accompanied by a male relative.

Fielding a wide-range of questions from reporters, Mujahid sought to strike a note of conciliation, saying, "We don't want any internal or external enemies."

He said since the war was over the Taliban would grant amnesty to all those who were opposed to them. “We do not want any Afghan to leave the country. They should stay back and use their talent and expertise to help build the country, he added.

But at the same the Taliban have been launching a door-to-door search for former government officials and threatening their families.

Also read: US Air Force C-17 plane crammed with record 640 Afghans flies out of Kabul to Qatar