Johnson urges Imran not to
recognise Taliban unilaterally

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LONDON: UK Prime Minister Boris John has urged his Pakistan counterpart Imran Khan not to recognise Taliban unilaterally. “Any recognition of the new government in Afghanistan should happen on an “international, not unilateral” basis, he said as they discussed the unfolding situation in the crisis-torn country.

A file picture shows Prime Minister Imran Khan met British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson at 10 Downing Street on 24th September 2019.

As part of a series of phone calls with world leaders to push for a coordinated strategy for the crisis in the region, Johnson spoke to Khan on Tuesday afternoon ahead of a call with US President Joe Biden.

It comes ahead of a parliamentary debate in the House of Commons on the Afghanistan crisis after the UK Parliament was recalled from its summer recess for the special session on Wednesday.

Afghan leader Mullah Baradar

“The Prime Minister stressed his commitment to work with international partners to avoid a humanitarian disaster in Afghanistan and the wider region,” said the Downing Street read-out of the call.

“The Prime Minister underlined that any recognition of the new government in Afghanistan to happen on an international, not unilateral basis,” the statement reads.

“He said that the legitimacy of any future Taliban government will be subject to them upholding internationally agreed standards on human rights and inclusivity,” it says.

The two Prime Ministers are said to have agreed for the UK and Pakistani governments to keep in “close contact” in the coming days on the evolving situation in the region since the Taliban takeover.

In his subsequent call with the US President on Tuesday, Johnson welcomed the US and UK cooperation in recent days to help evacuate British nationals, current and former staff, and others from Afghanistan.

“The Prime Minister and President Biden agreed on the need for the global community to come together to prevent a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. The Prime Minister outlined UK plans including increased humanitarian aid to the region and resettlement of refugees,” Downing Street said.

Women, girls and religious and other minorities, who are at most risk from the Taliban, will be given priority under the UK’s Afghan Citizens” Resettlement Scheme.

Chaos at Kabul Airport

“We owe a debt of gratitude to all those who have worked with us to make Afghanistan a better place over the last 20 years,” said Johnson, announcing the scheme.

“Many of them, particularly women, are now in urgent need of our help. I am proud that the UK has been able to put in place this route to help them and their families live safely in the UK,” he said.

While the details are still being finalised, UK Home Secretary Priti Patel confirmed on Wednesday that it will be a “bespoke” offer, aimed at resettling up to 20,000 Afghan refugees over the years – 5,000 being eligible in the first year.

“We could end up bringing many more [than 20,000] but first of all we have to have the underpinning and the infrastructure and the support to do that,” Patel told the BBC in reference to the scheme, which she stressed is still in its early stages and will “take time” to be fully operational.

Taliban spokesman Mohammad Suhail Shaheen

The UK government plans to work with third-party agencies, humanitarian organisations and other governments, including the US and Canada, on the resettlement process for thousands of Afghans trying to flee the country after Taliban militia seized control of the capital Kabul over the weekend.

The new plan is on top of the existing scheme for interpreters and other staff who have worked for the UK. Around 5,000 Afghans and family members are expected to benefit from that policy.

Further details will be laid out as Boris Johnson opens the parliamentary debate on Afghanistan on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Johnson is attempting to use the UK’s presidency of the G7 to push for a coordinated international response and has held a number of phone calls with European leaders including French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Telephone call

Prime Minister Imran Khan received a telephone call from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday, wherein he highlighted the extensive measures taken by Pakistan to contain the Covid-19, noted that the relevant data had been shared with the UK side, and called for removal of Pakistan from the Red List.

During the conversation the two prime ministers exchanged views on the latest situation in Afghanistan.

Prime Minister Imran underscored the paramount importance of a peaceful and stable Afghanistan for Pakistan. He also stressed that ensuring safety, security and respect for rights of all Afghans was critically important.

He also underscored the importance of an inclusive political settlement in Afghanistan.
The Pakistani prime minister highlighted the positive role of Pakistan in facilitating evacuation of diplomatic personnel and staff of international organizations and others from Afghanistan.

The two prime ministers agreed to remain in contact with respect to the evolving situation in Afghanistan.

Separately, Prime Minister Imran received a telephone call from his Danish counterpart Mette Frederiksen.

Prime Minister Imran Khan received a delegation of political leaders from Afghanistan in Islamabad on 17th August, 2021.

The two leaders exchanged views on the evolving situation in Afghanistan.

PM Imran shared Pakistan’s perspective, emphasising the importance of ensuring safety and security as well as protection of rights of all Afghans. He also underscored the importance of working out an inclusive political settlement.

The Pakistani prime minister highlighted Islamabad’s facilitating role in the evacuation of diplomatic personnel and staff of international organizations and others from Afghanistan, as requested.

The prime minister of Denmark thanked the Pakistani prime minister for Pakistan’s support and assistance in their evacuation endeavours.

It is reported that  Prime Minister Khan on Tuesday received telephone calls from his British counterpart Boris Johnson and German Chancellor Angela Merkel and they exchanged views on the latest situation in Afghanistan.

Prime Minister Khan underscored the paramount importance of a peaceful and stable Afghanistan for Pakistan and the region. He stressed that safety and security as well as protection of the rights of all Afghans was critically important.

Taliban

The prime minister underlined that an inclusive political settlement was the best way forward. He said Pakistan was reaching out to all Afghan leaders. The international community must also stay engaged, particularly to support the people of Afghanistan economically.

He highlighted the positive role that Pakistan played in facilitating the evacuation of diplomatic personnel and staff of international organisations and others from Afghanistan.

Mr Johnson and Ms Merkel agreed to remain in touch with Mr Khan with respect to the evolving situation in Afghanistan.

In the bilateral context, Prime Minister Khan highlighted the extensive measures taken by Pakistan to contain Covid-19, and said relevant data had been shared with the UK and called for the removal of Pakistan from the red list of the UK.

In conversation with Ms Merkel, the prime minister expressed satisfaction at regular high-level exchanges between Pakistan and Germany. He said Pakistan looked forward to enhancing collaboration with Germany in all areas of mutual interest.