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UK in talks with Taliban over further evacuations

It comes after a Taliban pledge to allow further departures. As per an official statement by the UK government, over 17,000 people had been evacuated by the UK from Afghanistan so far.

IANS | London |

The UK is reportedly in talks with the Taliban over furthering the evacuation process and securing a safe passage out of Afghanistan for British nationals and Afghans who remain there.

“The Prime Minister’s special representative for Afghan transition, Simon Gass, has traveled to Doha and is meeting with senior Taliban representatives to underline the importance of safe passage out of Afghanistan for British nationals, and those Afghans who have worked with us over the past 20 years,” the BBC quoted a government spokesman as saying.

It comes after a Taliban pledge to allow further departures. As per an official statement by the UK government, over 17,000 people had been evacuated by the UK from Afghanistan so far, including over 5,000 UK nationals.

One of the UK’s most senior intelligence chiefs has held talks with Taliban leaders to negotiate safe passage out of Afghanistan for British nationals and Afghans who worked with UK forces, and to seek assurances that the country will not become a base for international terrorists.

Sir Simon Gass, the chair of the joint intelligence committee, traveled to Doha in Qatar a few days ago, where most of the Taliban’s exiled leadership is based, to talk to Afghanistan’s new rulers as the UK, US, and other Western troops pullout.

The discussions with the group that the UK and its allies spent 20 years fighting are part of a wider British and western effort to reach understandings with the Taliban that could eventually lead to diplomatic recognition.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the Taliban deployed its special forces at the Kabul airport hours after the last batch of US troops left Afghanistan.

The final evacuation flight of the US was conducted in the last hours of Monday night, airlifting their military and non-military personnel back home, one day before the August 31 deadline. The British troops had left the country over the weekend. The Taliban have promised those with authorization will be allowed to leave the country.