G7 has ‘huge leverage’ over Taliban & has agreed militant group must allow safe departures beyond August 31 – Boris Johnson
The G7 has agreed a “roadmap” to engage with the Taliban, UK PM Boris Johnson has said, adding that the “number one condition” is for the militants to allow safe passage for those seeking to leave Afghanistan past August 31.
Leaders of the G7 nations – the US, the UK, Italy, France, Germany, Canada and Japan – held a virtual meeting on Tuesday, discussing the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan. Speaking after the event, the British prime minister revealed the group has devised a joint approach to the Taliban.
What we’ve done today, the G7, is we’ve … agreed not just a joint approach to dealing with the evacuation, but also a roadmap for the way in which we’re going to engage with the Taliban.
The seven rich nations have a “huge leverage” over the militant group, which overran Afghanistan a week ago, Johnson claimed. While the PM didn’t give much detail, he hinted at the withholding of frozen Afghan funds held in foreign banks.
“Some will say that they don’t accept that and some, I hope, will see the sense of that, because the G7 has very considerable leverage – economic, diplomatic and political,” Johnson said.
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So far, the main condition the G7 leaders agreed on is that the Taliban must allow the evacuation of those desiring to leave Afghanistan beyond the August 31 deadline, by which time the remaining foreign troops are set to leave. The UK has, so far, extracted some 9,000 people from Kabul airport, according to Johnson, who said he was “confident” Britain can “get thousands more out.” At the same time, the PM admitted “the situation at the airport is not getting any better.”
“The number one condition we’re setting as G7 is that they have got to guarantee, right the way through, through August 31 and beyond, safe passage for those who want to come out,” Johnson stated.
Speaking after the G7 meeting, France’s President Emmanuel Macron said the withdrawal and evacuation deadline was in the hands of the US, as it’s up to America to decide when to end operations in Kabul.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, meanwhile, said that the evacuations couldn’t continue without US support. Merkel also said Germany will commit €100 million in immediate humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, adding that a further €500 million could be provided later.
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Earlier in the day, however, the Taliban reaffirmed its stance on the evacuation process, with the group’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid reiterating that foreign evacuations must conclude by the August 31 deadline. Mujahid also said that the thousands of Afghans crowded into and around Kabul airport in hopes of leaving the country had nothing to fear from the Taliban and should go home. “We guarantee their security,” he said.
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Source:RT World News