Future aid for Kabul will be linked to democratic standards, Germany says

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BERLIN, April 29 (Reuters) - Any future financial aid for Afghanistan will be conditional on democratic standards being upheld there, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said during a visit to Kabul on Thursday, as NATO troops are set to launch their withdrawal from the country.

"The Taliban know as well that this country, which has been suffering so much in the wars of the past decades, is massively dependent on international aid financially," Maas said.

"This international aid certainly will not flow if the Taliban were to scrap all the rights and democratic standards that have been established in this country," he added.

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Maas was referring to the hardline Islamist Taliban's wish to be part of a future government in Kabul.

The Taliban severely curtailed women's and other human rights during their reign in Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, when they were ousted by U.S.-led forces. Since then they have waged a long-running insurgency and now control wide swathes of territory.

U.S. President Joe Biden and NATO announced in mid-April that they will withdraw the roughly 10,000 foreign troops still in Afghanistan by Sept. 11. Germany has the second-largest military contingent with about 1,100 troops.

Foreign force withdrawal is slated to begin on May 1. read more

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Reporting by Sabine Siebold; Editing by Toby Chopra

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