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Bridge between the EU and the new Afghanistan
20 September 2021
The European Muslim Forum is a pan-European platform uniting the Islamic leaders of 36 states of greater Europe. Recently, the organization proposed to the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell a new format of interaction on the "Afghan issue".

Europe's Muslim leaders - including EU supreme muftis, community leaders and respected theologians - stand ready to play a key intermediary role in establishing the necessary ties between European diplomats and the new Taliban rulers of Kabul. This is perhaps the most striking evidence of both the level of maturity of the Islamic community in Europe, and the need of the European bureaucracy in the leverage of the Muslims of the European continent on Central Asian processes.

Earlier, the EMF leadership favorably assessed the realistic approaches of the EU Foreign Minister J. Borrell in building relations with the Taliban movement. The approval of European Islamic leaders prompted Borrell to increase humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, ensure the presence of EU diplomats in Kabul, and not shy away from talks with the Taliban authorities. For its part, the EMF agrees to play the role of a mediator between the official Brussels and the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

Undoubtedly, the Taliban movement, which recently established control over the Afghanistan territory, is interested in mutual understanding with the main Western centers of power, including the European Union. Since coming to power, the Taliban leaders have not demonstrated any unfriendly rhetoric towards the EU, which creates space for constructive dialogue.

The largest leaders of Muslim Europe, sitting in the EMF, are convinced that the Taliban will more attentively respond to signals from the West, if such follow from their brothers - co-religionists and at the same time Europeans. It was confirmed by the instruction from the head of the World Bosnian Congress, who previously served as the Grand Mufti of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and now a member of the Knowledge Board of the EMF, Mustafa Ceric. In his instruction, the sheikh paternally called on the Taliban to avoid obscurantism and inhuman practices in domestic politics.

Thus, the Forum intends to render a service to the heads of the European Union by applying the tools at its disposal to influence the evolution of the Taliban's views towards their greater moderation and modernity. It is impossible to overestimate the interest in such support of European officials themselves, who most often have a vague idea of the Taliban's ideological basis and find it difficult to explain the phenomenon of their political success.

Meanwhile the most important is that all the parties involved have a sincere wish to give Taliban 2.0 a second chance for the sake of the interests of the people of long-suffering Afghanistan, tired of endless wars and devastation. By accepting the return of the Taliban, the Afghans have made their choice, and the international community is now required to look for ways to establish a dialogue with their leaders in order to prevent even greater humanitarian problems and the spread of extremism.

The EMF is going to focus on preventing the foreign policy isolation of Afghanistan, including it in the system of international relations with Western partners, and preserving the security architecture in the most important region of Central Asia. Together with the EU diplomatic service, the EMF will create a reliable bridge between Brussels and Kabul, secular Europe and conservative-religious Afghanistan through interreligious dialogue, cultural diplomacy, joint humanitarian and educational projects, and prevention of new migration crises.