EU ministers set conditions for Taliban

Foreign ministers in the EU are deciding whether to cooperate with Afghanistan's new rulers. They have released a set of conditions that they expect the Taliban to meet.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell made the announcement following a meeting of the ministers in Slovenia on Friday.

Borrell said the EU has to engage with the new government in Afghanistan, but that does not mean recognizing it. He said it is an operational engagement that will increase depending on the behavior of the government.

The ministers said the Taliban must not allow Afghanistan to become a safe haven for terrorists.

They want free access for humanitarian aid deliveries and a guarantee of safe passage for foreign nationals and Afghan employees who want to leave.

They expect the Taliban to respect human rights -- in particular, women's rights -- as well as the rule of law and freedom of the media.

A Taliban spokesman had previously said that women may hold government positions but not any Cabinet roles. Women in the capital Kabul held a demonstration to protest the restrictions.

One demonstrator said Afghan women have worked hard, studied, and specialized in education for 20 years, but today they have been removed from the Cabinet. She added that they want their human rights.

Many women fear a return of the repression they faced under Taliban rule in the 1990s.