Boris Johnson: Afghanistan must not become ‘breeding ground for terror’ again
Boris Johnson has said western countries must work together to stop Afghanistan from becoming a terrorist breeding ground again as the Taliban is set to take the capital of Kabul.
The Taliban is expected to soon declare a new Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan from the Presidential Palace, after democratically elected leader Ashraf Ghani fled the country today.
Western embassies have also cleared out personnel, with US and UK diplomats and staff fleeing Kabul today.
Johnson convened a Cobra meeting today to discuss the situation and has also recalled parliament from summer recess to sit for three hours on Wednesday morning.
In a statement today, Johnson said: “It is clear there is going to be – or there is going to be very shortly – a new government in Kabul, a new political dispensation.
“We want a united position amongst all the like minded [countries] – as far as we can get one- so that we do whatever we can to prevent Afghanistan lapsing back into being a breeding ground for terror.”
Thousands of locals are today trying to escape Kabul or apply for asylum as the Taliban enters the capital, just months after the US begun its complete troop withdrawal.
Sky News correspondents have reported seeing unarmed Taliban soldiers walking through Kabul, while NBC today said the group today freed 5,000 of their soldiers that have been imprisoned in Bagram airbase.
The militant Islamist group has already begun to clamp down on women attending university and work, despite their assurances otherwise.
There have also been reports of the group taking girls as young as 12 into sex slavery in other parts of conquered Afghanistan, along with other atrocities committed against women.
The Taliban, before it was toppled by the US in 2001, became a breeding ground for terrorist groups like Al Qaeda who were responsible for the 9/11 attacks in New York City.
Johnson said: “We don’t want anybody bilaterally recognising the Taliban.
“We want a united position amongst all the like-minded as far as we can get one.
“Of course we continue to attach huge importance to human rights, to equalities.
“Think of everything that the UK has helped to achieve over the last 20 years, the sacrifice of that mission, a lot of women and girls were educated thanks to the efforts of the UK.”
US President Joe Biden has refused to take responsibility for the incoming takeover by the extreme Islamist group, saying that he “was the fourth president to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan…I would not, and will not, pass this war onto a fifth”.
Foreign Affairs Committee chair and Tory MP Tom Tugendhat told the BBC that this was “the biggest single policy disaster since Suez”.
He also called for the UK to assist more Afghanis in seeking asylum.
“This isn’t just about interpreters or guards. This is about those people who we trained in special forces to serve alongside us, those who helped us to understand the territory through our agencies and our diplomats,” he said.
“This is the people who, on our encouragement, set up schools for girls. These people are all at risk now.
“The real danger is that we are going to see every female MP murdered, we are going to see ministers strung up on street lamps.”