UK hopes international alliances can be formed to exert 'moderating influence' on the Taliban

The UK hopes international alliances can be formed to exert a “moderating influence” on the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and secure safe passage for people seeking to escape.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab visiting the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office Crisis Centre in Whitehall on Friday, August 27, 2021.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab visiting the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office Crisis Centre in Whitehall on Friday, August 27, 2021.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab set out the UK’s aims at a meeting with counterparts from countries including the US, France and Germany.

The talks came on a day of international diplomacy yesterday as world powers discussed how to respond to the new administration in Kabul.

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Mr Raab’s intervention came at a US-convened meeting for the G7 group of industrialised democracies – the UK, US, Canada, Japan, Germany, France and Italy – along with representatives from the EU, Turkey, Qatar and the Nato alliance.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “The Foreign Secretary emphasised the importance of working with like-minded partners on safe passage and exit arrangements for eligible Afghans remaining in the country.”

The Taliban has given assurances that foreign nationals and Afghan citizens with travel authorisation will be allowed to leave, but Mr Raab stressed that “we must judge them on their actions”. The Foreign Secretary said the strategic priorities were to prevent Afghanistan again becoming a haven for terrorism, to ensure humanitarian access, protect the human rights gains of the last 20 years and preserve regional stability,

The Foreign Office said he also highlighted the need to work “with a range of international partners in order to exercise the maximum moderating influence on the Taliban”.

The focus now on ensuring safe passage for eligible Afghans comes with uncertainty about how many might seek to reach the UK and how they can hope to make the journey following the end of the airlift.

Foreign Office Minister James Cleverly said it was impossible to estimate how many people eligible to come to the UK had been left behind after evacuation flights finished.

Around 15,000 people had been evacuated from Afghanistan in a “herculean” effort, Mr Cleverly said, but Labour has claimed around 5,000 may have been left behind and ministers have faced criticism over the UK response.