Germany must engage with Taliban to continue evacuations, says Merkel

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Germany must engage with the Taliban, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said during a news conference with her party’s election candidate Armin Laschet.

“Of course we have to talk to them because they are the ones one needs to talk to now,” Merkel told reporters alongside Laschet who is hoping to succeed the chancellor in the upcoming election.

She said they wanted to evacuate people who worked for German development aid projects.

Germany also will support international aid organisations that “improve the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan”, citing drought and hunger as major problems.

Merkel said it was a “good signal” that Kabul’s airport is “accessible again.”

A Taliban spokesman told a German newspaper that the group was ready for full diplomatic relations with Germany. He said they had not “forgiven” German cooperation with the US, however.

European Union foreign ministers had agreed last week on the need to engage with the Taliban but said that did not mean they recognised the new government.

“In order to support the Afghan population, we will have to engage with the new government in Afghanistan, which does not mean recognition, it is an operational engagement,” Borrell told reporters on Friday.

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