What will happen to at-risk Britons if thousands of people are stranded in Afghanistan?
Britain has begun negotiations with the Taliban in the hopes of ensuring “safe passage” for British people and Afghans who have worked for the British government.
After the US and other partner forces withdrew earlier this week, the UK is currently in talks with the Taliban in an attempt to evacuate British residents still in the country. According to a government statement made on Tuesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s special representative for Afghan transition, Simon Gass, travelled to Doha, Qatar, to meet Taliban representatives. Today, the Foreign Secretary was probed on his handling of the Afghanistan problem, and he revealed that he has no idea how many Britons and eligible Afghans are still trapped in the country, fearing risk from the ruling Taliban forces.
On September 1, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab was questioned about the UK’s handling of the Afghan crisis.
Instead of the swift takeover carried out by Taliban fighters, Mr Raab claimed intelligence officers expected a “steady deterioration.”
When the Taliban quickly conquered Afghan cities before taking over Kabul on August 15, Nato countries were caught off guard.
A similar perspective was shared by Nato members, the Foreign Secretary told a parliamentary committee.
“The basic estimate was that there would be a Taliban consolidation of power in the months following the evacuation, but that Kabul would not fall before the end of the year,” he said.
“With all the normal caveats, that was the central assessment. That viewpoint was broadly accepted among Nato allies.”
Mr Raab revealed further insight into what led to August’s hurried evacuation ahead of the August 31 deadline for foreign troops to leave the nation during his nearly two-hour grilling by the House of Commons foreign affairs committee.
The Foreign Secretary failed to provide precise information to MPs about the number of people entitled to travel to the UK who are still stuck in Afghanistan, leaving them dissatisfied.
“I’m not confident enough to tell you a precise number,” he continued, “but I am convinced that the prime minister is correct, that we have the overwhelming number [of British nationals]out.”
When asked for an estimate, he claimed the number of UK citizens still living in the country is likely in the “low hundreds.”
Chris Bryant, a Labour MP, pressed Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who replied, “low hundreds sounds.” Brinkwire Summary News