Raab heads to Pakistan in bid to help those wanting to flee Taliban

Dominic Raab’s diplomatic mission moves to Pakistan as he pursues efforts to ensure safe transit for British and Afghans stuck in Afghanistan.

The Foreign Minister was due to hold talks with his Pakistani counterpart, Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, during a two-day visit.

The Pakistani Foreign Ministry added that Mr. Raab should have “senior level interaction”.

He arrives in Pakistan after Boris Johnson insisted that Britain should be “on an equal footing” with the Taliban and make them understand the need to allow people to leave Afghanistan.

The Prime Minister signaled that further engagement between the West and the Taliban could depend on enabling the British and Afghans left behind to leave.

Mr Johnson also claimed that it had been “clear for many months” that the situation in Afghanistan could change “very quickly” but insisted that the British government’s response to the Taliban takeover was not “spontaneous”.

More than 8,000 former Afghan workers and their families eligible under the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (Arap) were among the more than 15,000 people evacuated from the UK since August 13.

However, it is feared that thousands of Afghans who supported British efforts in the country and their relatives, as well as other vulnerable civilians, have been left behind.

During a visit to Qatar on Thursday, Raab said evacuations from Kabul airport could possibly resume “in the near future” as he expressed the need to work directly with the Taliban.

He used a visit to the region to form a coalition with nearby nations to “exercise maximum moderating influence” on the Taliban as they “adjust to the new reality” of the group in power.

On Thursday evening, Mr Raab tweeted that he had spoken to Tajik Foreign Minister Sirojiddin Muhriddin about “how our countries can help maintain stability in the region and deal with the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan”.

The Pakistani Foreign Ministry announced that Mr Raab would be visiting on Thursday and Friday.

In a statement, the ministry said: “Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi will hold official talks with Foreign Minister Dominic Raab.

“The talks will cover the developing situation in Afghanistan and bilateral matters. Foreign Minister Raab should also interact at management level. “

It added: “The visit will reinforce the current momentum of high-level exchanges between the two countries and help strengthen bilateral cooperation on a number of issues.”

While Mr Raab tried to make progress in the region, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office confirmed details of the use of a £ 30 million UK aid package.

It is expected that humanitarian agencies like the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will be given £ 10 million immediately to send relief supplies to the Afghan borders.

Countries forecast to see a significant increase in refugee numbers are also being given £ 20 million to help process newcomers and provide basic services and supplies.

Mr. Raab said, “They will provide essential equipment for Afghans who have left everything behind, providing shelter and basic sanitation while they try to pick up the pieces of their lives.”

Mr Johnson announced last month an increase in aid to Afghanistan to £ 286 million amid a policy to cut foreign aid spending.

A briefing from the House of Commons Library showed that the UK sent £ 290 million in aid to Afghanistan in 2019, and at the Afghanistan conference held in Geneva in November 2020, the UK government said £ 155 million in aid for 2021 to.

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