Willing to work with Taliban if necessary, says UK PM Boris Johnson

United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that his government was willing to work with Taliban if necessary, underscoring the volatile situation in the Central Asian country after militants captured the capital. “What I want to assure people is that our political and diplomatic efforts to find a solution for Afghanistan, working with the Taliban, of course if necessary, will go on,” Johnson said, reported news agency Reuters.

This is a U-turn of sorts. Earlier, Johnson had stated that any recognition of the new government in Afghanistan should happen on an “international, not unilateral” basis. As part of a series of phone calls with world leaders to push for a coordinated strategy for the crisis in the region, Johnson had spoken to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. It comes ahead of a parliamentary debate in the House of Commons on the Afghanistan crisis after the UK Parliament was recalled from its summer recess for the special session on Wednesday.

The prime minister had stressed his commitment to work with international partners to avoid a humanitarian disaster in Afghanistan and the wider region, said the Downing Street read-out of the call. He underlined that any recognition of the new government in Afghanistan has “to happen on an international, not unilateral basis,” the statement reads. “He said that the legitimacy of any future Taliban government will be subject to them upholding internationally agreed standards on human rights and inclusivity,” it says.

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