Britain said Monday it would do its utmost to rescue more than 300 Afghans who helped their armed forces but who are now languishing under the new Taliban regime.
In a speech to parliament, Prime Minister Boris Johnson failed to answer a question about how many British Afghans were left after a rushed Western airlift ended.
Thousands came from Kabul on crammed Royal Air Force planes, but he said 311 people were left behind who would qualify for the UK’s Afghan relocation and assistance policies, such as interpreters.
“We will do everything we can to make sure those people get the safe passage they deserve,” Johnson said.
The airlift was “one of the most spectacular operations in our country’s post-war history,” he said, vowing to make an “equal effort” to accommodate and train the newly arrived Afghans in Britain.
Johnson demanded the Taliban’s commitments to admit those who want to leave, and to respect women’s rights, if the militia is to access billions of dollars in Afghan funds frozen abroad.
In the run-up to the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks by al-Qaida on Saturday, the prime minister particularly urged the Taliban to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a haven for extremists to carry out attacks abroad. feed.
Johnson championed the intervention of the UK and the West in 2001. Critics, including some in his conservative party, say the Taliban’s triumphant return to power shows the effort was in vain.
He said he would push for consensus at the UN General Assembly in New York later this month to hold Islamists accountable.
“We will judge the Taliban by their actions, not their words – and we will use every economic, political and diplomatic leverage to protect our own countries from harm and to help the Afghan people,” the British leader said.
The government has faced fresh criticism for underestimating the Taliban, with Foreign Minister Dominic Raab facing demands to quit after initially failing to cancel a vacation to Greece when Afghanistan imploded last month.
Johnson has not expressed support for Raab, who has been tipped to be removed from his job in a cabinet reshuffle reportedly set to take place this week.
The foreign minister, who later spoke in parliament, denied being complacent, saying Britain had liberated more than 17,000 people from Afghanistan since April.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NewsMadura staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)