Special Representative of the European Union (EU) for Afghanistan Tomas Niklasson and deputy head of the EU delegation in the country, Rafaella Lodice, have visited the southern Kandahar province and met with Taliban’s foreign minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi, and the group’s deputy governor in the province, Hayatullah Mubarak.
At the meeting, Muttaqi claimed that the Taliban has ensured security all across Afghanistan and asked the EU representatives to encourage EU state members to open their embassies in Afghanistan, assuring them that there will be no security threat against their missions.
The media office of the Taliban’s Kandahar governor issued a statement on Wednesday stating that Niklasson and Lodice had praised the Taliban for providing security and its fight against corruption. According to the statement, the EU representatives were quoted as saying in Pashto, “We stand with Afghans, our assistance will continue, and we will convey the positive image of Afghanistan to the world.”
The visit by senior EU officials to Kandahar, where the Taliban’s hardliner leader Mullah Hibatullah is said to be based, comes amid repeated failed international attempts at encouraging the group to revoke its edicts banning women from education and work.
The EU representatives are said to have also met other Taliban officials in the province.
No foreign official has yet been able to meet the Taliban’s reclusive leader.