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EU ready to continue Afghanistan aid but watching new government

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BRUSSELS, Sept 8 (Reuters) – The European Union is ready to continue with emergency aid to Afghanistan but will keep a close eye on the new Taliban government, a senior member of the bloc’s executive said on Wednesday.

“The European Union is ready to continue to offer humanitarian assistance,” European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic said, adding however that longer-term donor money depended on the Taliban upholding basic freedoms.

“We are looking very, very carefully at how the new government is behaving before engaging,” he told a news conference following a meeting of EU commissioners.

Afghanistan faces the collapse of basic services and food and other aid is about to run out, the United Nations said on Tuesday, after the Taliban took control of the country on Aug. 15 and the United States and Western powers withdrew.

(Reporting by Jan Strupczewski and Robin Emmott Editing by John Chalmers)

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