Daily US Times: Britain is in fear and concern that US troops may pull out of Kabul airport within days, putting it at risk of closure of the airport and raising concerns over the emergency evacuation of thousands of people from Afghanistan.
Whitehall and security sources said they couldn’t guarantee how long the US would keep its 6,000 soldiers on the ground and cautioned that Britain could not continue the rescue without their presence.
They also indicated that the UK was not engaging with the Taliban directly over security or other issues after the group seized Kabul, capital of Afghanistan.
On Wednesday, the head of the British armed forces, Gen Sir Nick Carter said that he thought the Taliban wanted an “inclusive Afghanistan” and described them as “country boys” who had “honour at the heart of what they do”.
Carter said after being asked on Sky News about the Taliban’s repression of women, he replied: “I do think they have changed and recognise Afghanistan has evolved and the fundamental role women have played in that evolution.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson also hinted at the possibility of recognising the militant group, potentially in conjunction with other like-minded countries, telling MPs: “We will judge this regime based on the choices it makes and by its actions rather than by its words.”
A Whitehall source said uncertainty over the actions of the Taliban, however, and the US stand, meant the UK wanted to complete its evacuation of citizens and diplomats as rapidly as it could, saying: “There’s a realistic view that we want to just go as quickly as possible.”