UK foreign secretary to visit Pakistan for Afghan talks

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Raab will also meet an envoy of Afghan govt


 News Desk

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will be visiting Pakistan to hold talks with Pakistani officials related to the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan.

Officials from Pakistan and the UK spoke on Tuesday afternoon to finalise the visit.
Raab has been under intense fire for being away on vacation as Kabul fell after the collapse of the Ashraf Ghani government, and thousands of Britons were left stranded.

The UK government said Raab will head to the region for talks about the rescue of those left behind in Kabul after the departure of the remaining foreign forces.

The foreign secretary said he would be leaving for the region on Wednesday, after a combative grilling on the government’s handling of the crisis in Afghanistan by the Foreign Affairs Committee, but did not say where exactly, due to security reasons.

However, a UK government source confirmed to this reporter that the foreign secretary will be in Pakistan for two days to hold talks with Pakistani government officials.

The source said that Raab will be meeting civilian and military leadership and the visit is being held on the request of the UK government, which is looking to get remaining British nationals out of the region, with facilitation from other countries.

The source added that Raab will likely also meet a representative of the Afghanistan government.

On Tuesday, Raab told the Foreign Affairs Committee: “We’re always very careful about signalling travel movements because of the security implications. But I can tell you I’m leaving after this committee to go to the region.”

Committee chair Tom Tugendhat asked Raab: “Is this your first trip to Pakistan?” “I’ve been to Pakistan before but not as foreign secretary,” he responded.

Raab said the central assessment of the UK government was that Kabul was “unlikely” to fall in 2021, despite it ultimately being taken by the Taliban in the middle of August.

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