Europe, Afghanistan Is Your Wake-Up Call

By Josep Borrell Fontelles

Mr. Borrell is the European Union’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, and vice president of the European Commission.

No word can explain it’s really time to go ahead

The Taliban’s takeover in Afghanistan is, first and foremost, a tragedy for Afghans. The world’s attention is rightly focused on trying to help those desperately trying to flee the country and worrying about those left behind, notably women and girls.

But it is also a severe blow to the West. Europe and the United States were united as never before in Afghanistan: It was the first time that NATO’s Article 5, committing all members to defend one another, was invoked. And for many years, Europeans provided a strong military commitment and an important economic aid program, amounting to a total of 17.2 billion euros, or $20.3 billion.

But in the end, the timing and nature of the withdrawal were set in Washington. We Europeans found ourselves — not only for the evacuations out of the Kabul airport but also more broadly — depending on American decisions.

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