Taliban to hold 'oath-taking ceremony' on September 11th
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The visit was the first since the collapse of the previous UK-backed Afghan government and withdrawal of British and other Nato forces in August. A Government spokesman said talks included 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”. They also raised the treatment of minorities and the rights of women and girls.
Britain does not recognise the Taliban government and no longer has an embassy there, but is operating from Doha, Qatar. Sir Simon Gass, the PM’s special representative for Afghanistan, and Martin Longden, Charge d’Affaires of the UK Mission in Doha, travelled to the country.
A spokesman said they met foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi and deputy prime ministers Abdul Ghani Baradar Akhund and Abdul-Salam Hanafi.
Afghanistan was a breeding ground for Islamist terror groups under the previous Taliban rule, culminating in the 9/11 attacks planned from there by Al-Qaeda.
Meanwhile, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said yesterday he is considering whether to award medals to military personnel involved in the withdrawal and evacuation from Afghanistan.
Speaking at a fringe event at the Conservative Party conference, Mr Wallace said the Armed Forces had shown they could perform in a “high-stress environment”.
“We will reflect on whether there is medallic recognition specifically for it,” he said.
He also predicted the Western withdrawal would afford opportunities for China and terror groups, such as al-Shabaab in east Africa.
Mr Wallace said: “Who popped up immediately as the US and Nato were leaving, but China, offering to invest in Afghanistan.
“It is all connected.”
He warned that Britain was likely to be “tested” on the global stage in the coming years.
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