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Kabul airport must be safe for future humanitarian missions, says EU

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By Jack Parrock
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Kabul airport must be safe for future humanitarian missions, says EU
Copyright  Wali Sabawoon/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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Kabul airport must remain safe for any future humanitarian access, according to the European Commission.

Peter Stano, the Commission spokesperson for foreign affairs, told Euronews that although the priority right now remains getting EU nationals out of Hamid Karzai International Airport safely, the location needs to be accessible beyond the August 31st date for Western troops to withdraw from Afghanistan.

"Really all the efforts, together with the member states and other partners, are focused on to get out everybody we need to get out," Stano said. "And then of course the second priority is to make sure that Kabul airport remains operational because there will be life after the 31st of August and Kabul airport is one important entry point into Afghanistan for deliveries of humanitarian assistance for example."

Over 400 EU staff and collaborators have been evacuated from Afghanistan already.

The number of those still to leave is unknown with the Taliban set to take control of the airport on the last day of the month.

What's transpired in Afghanistan should be a wake-up call for European powers according to former French Ambassador to the US, Gérard Araud.

"When the Americans take an important decision, they don't consult their allies," the diplomat said. "They have never consulted their allies in such circumstances so it's not new. So we shouldn't moan, we shouldn't wail, that's part of the deal."

"The second element of course on the European Union side - it's not a geopolitical power. So the European Union is able to deliver aid, to work on transnational issues, but it's not a military power."

EU ministers for defence and foreign affairs will hold meetings with their respective counterparts next week, with Afghanistan set to remain the most pressing issue.