| 24 May 2024, Friday |

UK Foreign Minister Dominic Raab visits Pakistan in push to help fleeing Afghans

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is planning to visit Pakistan later as part of efforts to guarantee safe passage for Britons and others trying to leave Afghanistan.

Raab will meet his Pakistani counterpart and other senior leaders on the latest leg of his regional tour.

The visit comes as the UK announced $42 million in support to Afghanistan’s neighbors.

The funding will help provide shelter and sanitation for the tens of thousands of refugees expected to flee the Taliban regime.

Raab’s visit to Pakistan as foreign secretary is due to last two days, Raab will meet the country’s foreign minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, as well as other senior civilian and military figures.

They are likely to talk about how to encourage the Taliban to allow safe passage for refugees and prevent Afghanistan becoming a hub for terrorist groups.

Pakistan, which shares a border with Afghanistan, is a key player in the crisis and already hosts about 3 million Afghan refugees.

The Foreign Office has already sent officials to help process those crossing the border. But Raab has been criticized by MPs for not focusing more on the country.

This week, he has been visiting the region to build a coalition with neighboring countries to “exert the maximum moderating influence” on the Taliban.

After talks with leaders in Qatar on Thursday, the foreign secretary said evacuations may be able to resume from Kabul airport “in the near future”.

The Afghan capital’s airport is out of action following the withdrawal of US troops last week.

And on Thursday evening he said he had spoken to Tajikistan foreign minister Sirojiddin Muhriddin about “how our countries can help maintain stability in the region, and tackle the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan”.