British PM's envoy meets Taliban leaders in Afghanistan

Afghan humanitarian crisis and ways to prevent country from becoming an incubator for militants come under discussion


Reuters October 05, 2021
Taliban acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi speaks during a news conference in Kabul, Afghanistan on September 14, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON:

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's special envoy met Taliban leaders in Afghanistan to discuss the humanitarian crisis and ways to prevent the country from becoming an incubator for militants.

Simon Gass, Johnson's high representative for Afghanistan, met Taliban leaders including Amir Khan Muttaqi, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and Abdul Salam Hanafi, the Foreign Office said.

They "discussed how the UK could help Afghanistan to address the humanitarian crisis, the importance of preventing the country from becoming an incubator for terrorism, and the need for continued safe passage for those who want to leave the country," the Foreign Office added.

"They also raised the treatment of minorities and the rights of women and girls."

Gass was accompanied by Chargé d'Affaires of the UK Mission to Afghanistan in Doha.

Also read: Bill moved in US Senate to sanction Taliban, supporters

Recently, a group of high-profile US senators – including a former presidential nominee – has moved a bill in the US Senate seeking imposition of sanctions on the Afghan Taliban that could also potentially extend to Pakistan. The bill, titled ‘Afghanistan Counterterrorism, Oversight, and Accountability Act’, triggered an angry rebuke from a senior member of Pakistan’s cabinet.

The 22 lawmakers, all from the Republican Party, introduced the bill on Monday that requires “the imposition of sanctions with respect to the Taliban and persons assisting the Taliban in Afghanistan, and for other purposes.”

The proposed legislation also seeks to review and suspend assistance to and potentially impose sanctions on any foreign government the US believes was or is supporting the Taliban. It singles out Pakistan by name in the section that calls for a report on “entities providing support for the Taliban”.

The bill was introduced by Senator Jim Risch, the representative for the state of Idaho and a ranking member of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee who has previously co-sponsored acts imposing sanctions on Turkey and making it a federal crime for Americans to encourage or participate in boycotts against Israel and Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

(With additional input from News Desk)

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