By SAMUEL PETREQUIN
LJUBLJANA, Slovenia (AP) — Senior European Union officials say the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan and the rushed airlift operation out of the country have highlighted the EU’s need for its own rapid-reaction military force. Officials said in interviews and public remarks on Wednesday that the EU’s dependence on U.S. troops during the evacuation demonstrated the 27-nation bloc’s lack of preparedness and independence. “As a global economic and democratic power, can Europe be content with a situation where we are unable to ensure, unassisted, the evacuation of our citizens and those under threat because they have helped us?” European Council President Charles Michel asked. EU members have floated the idea of setting up a 5,000-member stand-by-force capable of quickly intervening.