Josep Borrell Says Afghanistan Events Further Necessitated Need for European Defence
06:44 GMT 02.09.2021 (Updated: 07:50 GMT 02.09.2021)
© REUTERS / STRINGERTaliban forces patrol at a runway a day after U.S troops withdrawal from Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan August 31, 2021
© REUTERS / STRINGER
In mid-August, the Taliban* came to power in Afghanistan after entering the capital Kabul without a fight amid the withdrawal of US and NATO troops from the war-ravaged nation.
High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell stated on Thursday that the latest events in Afghanistan had further necessitated the need for European defence.
Speaking at an informal meeting of EU defence ministers in Slovenia, Borrell said that the chaotic western troop exit from Afghanistan may become a catalyst for the bloc to develop its own common defence, which could involve a rapid reaction force.
"Sometimes there are events that catalyse history, that create a breakthrough, and I think that Afghanistan is one of these cases", he underscored.
Borrell also insisted that the EU should "look for something more operational" as he called for the creation of a "first entry force". According to him, "the need for more, stronger European defence is more evident that ever".
© REUTERS / US MARINESA US Marine passes out water to evacuees during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, August 22, 2021
A US Marine passes out water to evacuees during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, August 22, 2021
© REUTERS / US MARINES
The remarks come after General Kenneth McKenzie, commander of US Central Command, on 30 August, announced the end of America's almost 20-year military mission in Afghanistan.
The CENTCOM commander said that while US forces have reached the conclusion of their evacuation mission in Afghanistan, a "diplomatic mission" remains as Washington works to ensure the safe departure of fleeing Afghans, third-country nationals, and US citizens who were eligible to travel, but chose to stay for whatever reason.
Macron Wants 'True European Army'
In late 2018, French President Emmanuel Macron called for the creation of what he described as a "true European army" which he said should be aimed at protecting the interests of the bloc from China, Russia, and the US.
17 June 2019, 18:54 GMT
The proposal was supported by German Chancellor Angela Merkel but rejected by then-British Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, who claimed that any force rivalling NATO, would undermine international security. He slammed the project as "crazy and dangerous", pledging that Britain would "never" be part of it.
In December 2017, then-European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker praised the first operational steps taken by EU member states to "lay the foundations of a European Defence Union", stressing that the bloc's security "cannot be outsourced".
*The Taliban is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia and many other nations.