Boris Johnson: West Could Recognise Taliban as Legit Afghan Govt if They Protect ‘Human Rights and Inclusivity’

Passengers repatriated from Afghanistan, disembark from an RAF Airbus KC2 Voyager aircraft, after landing at RAF Brize Norton, southern England, on August 17, 2021. - Britain is sending 900 soldiers back to Afghanistan over the coming days to help with repatriations and evacuations following the rapid Taliban takeover of the …
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The United Kingdom continues its public push to persuade the Islamist warlords of the Taliban to follow up their de facto defeat of the West in Afghanistan by pivoting to becoming a moderate organisation protecting human rights and pursuing inclusive policies.

Top British political figures have been pushing home — since the expensively cultivated Afghan government evaporated over the weekend — the notion that if the Taliban conforms to Western values then it could be recognised as a legitimate world government, with the benefits that entail. Prime Minister Boris Johnson followed the defence and foreign secretaries in his new remarks, where he revealed the kinds of behaviour he expected from the Taliban in return for recognition.

The prime minister spoke to his Pakistani counterpart on Tuesday night about the Afghanistan situation, and following the conversation, a Downing Street spokesman noted Mr Johnson had said on the call that “any legitimacy of any future Taliban government will be subject to them upholding internationally agreed standards on human rights and inclusivity”, ITV reports.

Mr Johnson underlined the British attitude that by becoming inclusive, the Taliban terror organisation could be admitted into the club of respectable nations, and in remarks to Britain’s Parliament on Wednesday said that the UK expected the group to match words with deeds. He told a packed House of Commons chamber, recalled from their Summer recess for the purpose, that: “We must face the reality of a change of regime in Afghanistan… We will judge this regime based on the choices it makes, and by its actions rather than by its words.

“On its attitude to terrorism, to crime and narcotics, as well as to humanitarian access and the rights of girls to receive an education. Defending human rights will remain of the highest priority, and we will use every available political and diplomatic means to ensure those human rights remain at the top of the international agenda.”

Johnson said that the UK was using its rotating presidency of the G7 organisation and other international relationships to coordinate a unified response to the Taliban ruling Afghanistan. Saying he had spoken with NATO, the UN, and the leaders of the United States of America, Germany, France, and Pakistan, Johnson it would be a “mistake” for any country to recognise the Taliban government as legitimate before the others.

Doing so would likely undermine the effectiveness of sanctions or attempts to politically isolate the Taliban, methods which have been discussed already by the United Kingdom and the European Union. Nevertheless, the UK is already talking to the Taliban — allegedly through third governments and their Political Commission in Doha — as the government attempts to use “leverage” to moderate the group.

The UK is also surrendering another potential lever in its armoury, announcing this week that not only would it not make aid money flowing to Afghanistan dependent on the Taliban respecting human rights, but that it would also increase the amount spent. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, speaking as the world woke up to the enormous degree the United States and United Kingdom had failed to prevent billions of dollars worth of military equipment and weapons falling into the hands of the Taliban, nevertheless reassured taxpayers that this boost in cash to Afghanistan would be safe.

Mr Raab said on Tuesday: “We obviously won’t be giving aid directly to the Taliban.”


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