| 28 May 2024, Tuesday |

UK’s Johnson says G7 agreed Taliban must allow departures after Aug. 31

On Tuesday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the G7 had agreed on a strategy to engage with the Taliban, with the insurgents’ first demand being that they give Afghans seeking to leave the country safe passage even after the August 31 deadline.

“What we’ve done today, the G7, is we’ve… agreed not only on a common strategy to dealing with the evacuation, but also on a plan for how we’re going to engage with the Taliban,” Johnson said following an emergency virtual meeting of the Group of Seven affluent nations’ leaders.

“The number one condition we’re putting on them as the G7 is that they have to provide safe passage for people who want to come out all the way through, through August 31 and beyond.”

“Some of them will say they don’t accept it; others, I think, will see the logic of it, since the G7 has enormous economic, diplomatic, and political clout.”

After the Taliban seized control of the nation just over a week ago, Johnson warned the G7 could use “great leverage” against them, including withholding large sums of money.

“What we’re saying is Afghanistan can’t lurch back into becoming a breeding ground of terror, Afghanistan can’t become a narco state, girls have got to be educated up to the age of 18,” he said.

Johnson sidestepped a question about whether other G7 leaders had expressed frustration at U.S. President Joe Biden over his handling of the crisis and refusal to extend the deadline for U.S. troops remaining in Afghanistan.

“Let’s be clear the immediate phase of the evacuation is actually … a very considerable success by the military,” he said. “We’re confident we can get thousands more out. But the situation at the airport is not getting any better. It’s harrowing scenes for those who are trying to get out.”

  • Reuters