August 20, 2021
Boris Johnson walks outside Downing Street in London, Britain, August 18, 2021 © Reuters / Hannah McKay
By RT News
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the UK will work with the Taliban to “find a solution for Afghanistan,” and defended Foreign Minister Dominic Raab, who was holidaying as Kabul fell to the Islamist militants.
“What I want to assure people is that our political and diplomatic efforts to find a solution for Afghanistan, working with the Taliban, of course if necessary, will go on,” Johnson told reporters on Friday.
After a whirlwind advance across Afghanistan in the wake of the US withdrawal which commenced in May, Taliban fighters entered the capital city of Kabul less than a week ago, triggering a scramble by Western governments to evacuate their citizens via Hamid Karzai International Airport. As the militants entered Kabul and assumed the duties of government, UK Foreign Secretary Raab was holidaying on the Greek island of Crete, and delegated to a subordinate to get in touch with the minister’s counterpart in Kabul to arrange the evacuation.
With the Taliban takeover, that contact never happened, and Raab has subsequently faced calls to resign. Johnson stood by Raab on Friday, saying that he “absolutely” has confidence in his foreign secretary, and that “the whole of the government has been working virtually round the clock” to deal with the rapid collapse in Afghanistan.
Raab uttered similar words in a statement on Friday, touting the UK’s evacuation of more than 1,600 UK nationals, Afghan staff, and other countries’ citizens since Monday.
The evacuation process is still ongoing, and Johnson has pledged to welcome more Afghans to the UK too. The PM promised to resettle 20,000 “more vulnerable” Afghans in the UK.