UK and Taliban in talks over further evacuations

UK and Taliban in talks over further evacuations
Taliban soldiers at Kabul airport. Source: Reuters
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Daily US Times: The UK is in talks with the Taliban to secure safe passage out of Afghanistan for a number of British citizens and Afghan allies who remain.

No 10 said that the talks, involving British officials and “senior” Taliban members are taking place in Doha, Qatar.

The defence secretary said that between 150-250 people, who remain in Afghanistan, are eligible for relocation – plus their families – remain in the country.

The news comes after the Taliban, who controls Afghanistan, pledges to allow further departures.

Commenting on the UK and Taliban negotiations, a spokesman of No 10 said: “The prime minister’s special representative for Afghan transition, Simon Gass, has travelled to Doha and is meeting with senior Taliban representatives to underline the importance of safe passage out of Afghanistan for British nationals, and those Afghans who have worked with us over the past 20 years.”

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said that so far UK has evacuated more than 17,000 people from Afghanistan, including over 5,000 Britons.

He also said the United Kingdom needed to face the changing situation in Afghanistan and work with other countries to exercise a “moderating influence” on the Taliban.

Mr Raab said: “The challenge now is to face the new reality, as difficult as it is, and to come up with a new plan that reflects it.”

Sir William Patey, former British ambassador to Kabul between 2010 and 2012, said engaging with the Taliban could help prevent a refugee crisis and avoid the country becoming a host for terrorists.

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