Dominic Raab, the UK Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Affairs signaled the UK’s willingness to engage with the Taliban administration in Afghanistan on Friday.
He was speaking at a joint news briefing in Islamabad with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
Raab said that evacuating 15,000 people from Kabul would not have been possible without some assistance from the Taliban, who took control of an area on August 15.
“We do see the importance of being able to engage and having a direct line of communication,” he said.
According to Foreign Minister Qureshi, such talks with British government officials help Pakistan improve its ties with the UK.
Pakistan has made “tremendous progress” in removing itself off the FATF’s grey list, he added. He said, “We have taken legislative, administrative, and concrete steps that are being taken.”
FM Qureshi claimed he spoke with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson about Pakistan’s inclusion on the UK’s Red List, and that he informed him how Pakistanis felt about it and
“On the whole, it was a frank and candid discussion. Thank you for coming,” concluded the foreign minister.
The foreign minister expressed his delight that a meeting between Dr. Faisal Sultan and British officials has been scheduled on Monday, during which he would propose methods for both sides can be comfortable and overcome this challenge.”
Following the foreign minister’s opening remarks, Raab said that the UK values its long-standing relationship with Pakistan, adding that he had a good and productive conversation with Foreign Minister Qureshi.
“We want to further strengthen our ties with Pakistan,” he said.
He expressed gratitude to Pakistan for successfully removing British people from Afghanistan, and said that the UK will continue to offer humanitarian assistance to the country.
“We will continue to help Afghanistan’s neighboring countries, including Pakistan,” he vowed. “We want to see a prosperous Afghanistan.”
Dr. Faisal Sultan will meet with UK officials to examine the technical elements of the issue, Raab added, referring to Pakistan’s presence on the Red List.