British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Britain would have to turn to Russia and China to exercise “moderate influence” over the Taliban, despite the mistrust between the UK and those governments. Reuters.
“We will have to turn to countries with potentially moderate influence like Russia and China, however uncomfortable that may be,” Raab told the Sunday Telegraph.
The Taliban seized power last weekend from a US-backed government, causing thousands of people to flee and potentially presaging a return to the militants’ hard and authoritarian rule two decades ago.
The UK and China recently differed on several issues, including Hong Kong and alleged human rights abuses against China’s Uighur ethnic group.
Read: Trump criticizes Biden for ‘humiliating’ Afghanistan
Relations between London and Moscow have also been frozen since the 2018 poisoning with a developed Soviet nerve agent, known as Novichok, from former double agent Sergei Skripal, a mole who has reported hundreds of Russian agents to Britain’s foreign intelligence service.
Relations between Britain and Russia deteriorated further after a BBC journalist working in Moscow was ordered to leave the country.
British forces have evacuated 3,821 people from Kabul since August 13, according to the British Ministry of Defense, of whom 1,323 have arrived in the UK. This includes Embassy staff and British nationals who are eligible for the Afghan Assistance and Resettlement Policy Program (ARAP).
Blair denounces ‘abandonment’ of Afghanistan
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair declared late Saturday night that the “abandonment” of Afghanistan was “tragic, dangerous and unnecessary, not in their interest and not in ours.”
The former prime minister, who sent British troops to Afghanistan in 2001, said the decision to withdraw was motivated “not by grand strategy but by politics”.
Blair added that Britain should think seriously about what it described as “little or no consultation” on the part of the United States on the decision to withdraw from Afghanistan.
“We (Britain) risk relegation to the second tier of world powers. We may not care. But at least we should make the decision on purpose,” Blair wrote in an article published on Saturday.
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