With the withdrawal of international troops, Afghanistan finds itself at a critical juncture, and the achievements of the past 20 years are under threat.

Parliament condemns in the strongest terms the alarming increase in violence in Afghanistan and calls on the Taliban to immediately cease their attacks against civilians and the national forces, and to fully respect international humanitarian law.                           In the resolution adopted on Thursday, MEPs point to “the confluence of the fragile domestic situation, a deteriorating security situation, intra-Afghan peace talks effectively at a stalemate and the decision to withdraw US and NATO troops by 11 September 2021”. All this could intensify internal conflicts and create a vacuum that, in the worst-case scenario, will be filled by the Taliban, they add. “This would be very worrying for the country and for the sustainability of the socio-political achievements and progress of the last 20 years”, warn MEPs. They particularly stress the progress made in the rights of women and girls, which is now under threat and must urgently be preserved and strengthened.                The resolution expresses concern about the fragility and instability of the Afghan Government and its lack of control over much of the country and stresses the need to avoid a ‘failed state’ scenario. The Parliament reiterates its commitment to an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process and post-conflict reconstruction as the only credible path to inclusive, long-term peace, security and development. It urges the Council, the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the Commission to prepare and present to Parliament, as soon as possible, a comprehensive strategy for future cooperation with Afghanistan once NATO allied troops have withdrawn, and urges the EU and its member states, NATO and the US to remain engaged with this objective.                                                                     In this regard, the peace talks in Doha must resume immediately to achieve a political settlement to the conflict and a permanent, nationwide negotiated ceasefire, MEPs say. Only a political settlement offers hope for lasting peace, they underline. They recommend the parties should seek help from a third-party mediator, such as the United Nations, to help them agree on a political roadmap for a prosperous Afghanistan.                                            Finally, MEPs emphasise that European support will remain conditional on preserving and building upon the achievements of the past twenty years, on effectively enhancing inclusive and accountable governance, strengthening institutions, democratic pluralism, the rule of law, combating corruption, strengthening independent media, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all Afghans