The European Union (EU) intends to increase cooperation with Afghanistan’s neighbours to help them cope better with the consequences of the Afghan crisis, a top official said here.

“They are at the forefront, on the firing line, in terms of the consequences of this crisis: the humanitarian consequences, the migration consequences, regarding stability or the lack thereof, and also terrorist threats,” Peter Stano, the European Commission’s lead spokesperson for external affairs, said in a statement.

Stepping up cooperation with countries such as Iran and Pakistan, which are the most likely to bear the burden of the crisis, was the first decision made by the EU when the Afghan crisis began, Stano said.

Top EU officials have already opened a dialogue with officials of Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries on ways to expand cooperation.

Last week, High Representative Josep Borrell, Vice President of the European Commission, met Hossein Amir Abdollahian, the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs, to discuss the “implications of the Afghanistan crisis”.

The EU also cooperates with other countries and international organisations to help Iran and Pakistan cope with the repercussions of the Afghan crisis.

“The EU is one of the main players but is not the only party involved and which needs to take responsibilities regarding this region… A lot of countries have participated in the NATO mission in Afghanistan.

“As the Commission president said, it’s up to those countries too to play their part in managing the current situation,” said Eric Mamer, the European Commission’s chief spokesperson.

–IANS

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