EU ministers to hold emergency talks on Afghanistan

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EU foreign ministers will hold emergency talks via videolink Tuesday on the situation in Afghanistan as European nations scramble to evacuate personnel from the country, officials said.

Member states and the EU executive in Brussels are frantically trying to pull their foreign and Afghan staff out of Kabul amid fears of reprisals after the Taliban’s takeover.

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“Following latest developments in Afghanistan, and after intense contacts with partners in the past days and hours, I decided to convene an extraordinary VTC (video teleconference) of EU Foreign Ministers tomorrow afternoon for a first assessment,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell tweeted on Monday.

“Afghanistan stands at a crossroad. Security and wellbeing of its citizens, as well as international security are at play.”

EU officials are pleading with the bloc’s 27 capitals to give visas to Afghan workers at the bloc’s mission in Kabul and their families, estimated to number between 500 and 600, European diplomats said. The European Commission has no power to issue visas on its own behalf.

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney told local radio that his country had already agreed visa waivers for 45 Afghans and was looking to take around 100 more.

Individual European countries are also scrambling to get their nationals and Afghan employees out as crowds mobbed the airport in Kabul frantic to board departing planes.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government is planning to deploy soldiers to Afghanistan to help with the evacuation of German nationals and Afghans in danger from the Taliban, parliamentary sources in Berlin said.

France said it would evacuate its nationals and Afghan colleagues from the fallen capital Kabul on Monday to a base in the United Arab Emirates.

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