The European Union has no immediate plans to recognize the Taliban after their sweeping victory in Afghanistan but will talk with the militants to ensure that European citizens and Afghans who have worked with the EU can leave safely, the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell said Tuesday.

Media reports say that speaking after leading emergency talks among the EU’s foreign ministers, Mr. Borrell also underlined the importance of opening talks with the Taliban to help prevent a new exodus of refugees as a humanitarian crisis unfolds in the conflict-ravaged country.

“We have to get in touch with the authorities in Kabul, whatever they are.  The Taliban have won the war, so we will have to talk with them,” Borrell told reporters.  “This dialogue will also have to focus on the means to prevent the return of foreign terrorists.”

“It’s not a matter of official recognition, it’s a matter of dealing with” the Taliban, Borrell said, according to the Associated Press (AP).

The European Union will have to speak to the Taliban, but any cooperation will depend on whether Afghanistan's new rulers respect fundamental rights, Mr. Borrell noted, according to Deutsch Welle (DW). 

AP says the EU ministers agreed that the first priority should be to extract Europeans and Afghans who have helped them over the years.  Spain has reportedly agreed to welcome up to 400 Afghans and to distribute them among other EU countries that are willing to provide visas.

Many countries in Europe are concerned about an influx of refugees like the mass exodus from Syria in 2015.  Afghans are reportedly already among the biggest group seeking sanctuary in Europe, after Syrians.  Some EU estimates suggest about 570,000 Afghans have applied for asylum over the last six years, according to AP

The arrival in the EU of well over 1 million migrants in 2015, mostly from Syria and Iraq, reportedly sparked one of the bloc’s biggest crises as nations bickered over how best to manage the influx.

AP says asylum applications by Afghan citizens have already climbed by a third since February as it became clear that the United States would pull its troops out of Afghanistan. 

In the meantime, the U.N.’s refugee agency is calling for a moratorium on the forced returns of Afghan citizens.  The UNHCR also noted that “countries such as Iran and Pakistan have for decades generously hosted the vast majority” of Afghan refugees.