UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Friday that while engaging with the Taliban administration in Afghanistan is vital for a variety of reasons, including the safety of British nationals, thoughts of officially recognizing it are “premature.” Raab, who is Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Affairs, stated at a joint news conference in Islamabad with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi that evacuating 15,000 people from Kabul would not have been feasible without Taliban support.
“The approach we are taking is that we don’t recognize the Taliban as a government but we do see the importance of being able to engage and have a direct line of communication, the reason being that there is a whole range of issues that need to be discussed including the question of safe passage of British nationals and the Afghans who worked for the UK government, he said.
Though Raab expressed optimism that the Taliban would bring peace and an end to violence in the nation, he said it was “premature” to speak about recognizing the Taliban at this time. He noted that the Taliban had made a number of commitments, “some of which are positive at the level of words,” but that they needed to be tested to see if they translated into acts, which would not be feasible if a line of communication was not available.
In response to a question on Taliban expectations and the dangers of driving them toward “radical tendencies,” Raab said certain early tests needed to be placed on Taliban pledges and whether they had the sincerity and desire to deliver on them.
On August 15, the Taliban took control of Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul. The last foreign forces left the nation on August 31, putting the 20-year-long conflict to a close amid worries of economic collapse and severe famine. Following the tumultuous departure, Western countries have drastically curtailed aid contributions to Afghanistan. Raab expressed gratitude to the Pakistani authorities for successfully evacuating the British people. He stated that the UK will continue to offer humanitarian help.
After 40 years of war, Afghanistan finally has a chance for peace, according to the foreign minister. According to Qureshi, Pakistan has taken legislative and administrative efforts to remove itself from the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) grey list. He stated that the subject of the UK’s Red List, which imposes the most stringent travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 epidemic, was covered at the meeting with Raab, and that the British foreign secretary was informed of how the people of Pakistan felt about it. Raab stated that top officials from both nations will meet to examine the case’s technical issues. “On technical reasons, we will be able to make the decision to remove Pakistan’s name off the Red List,” he added.
According to the Pakistan Foreign Office, Raab will hold official meetings with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi during his visit on September 2 and 3.
According to the FO, the discussions would address the developing situation in Afghanistan as well as bilateral issues. Pakistan and the United Kingdom have been following the current events in Afghanistan attentively. On August 18, Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke by phone with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and Qureshi and Raab addressed the situation in Afghanistan twice, on August 16 and 27.
According to the FO, the visit would assist boost bilateral cooperation on a variety of topics by reinforcing the present momentum in high-level interactions between the two nations. Raab is the third European leader to visit Pakistan this week, following visits by German and Dutch foreign ministers to Islamabad and meetings with top leaders.
(Source – Business Standard)