The UK should “engage” with the Taliban and “adjust to the new reality” in Afghanistan, foreign secretary Dominic Raab has said.
Speaking from Doha, the minister added that the British government would not recognise the new rulers in the “foreseeable future”.
The comments come as the Taliban is expected to form a government and to name Sheikh Haibatullah Akhundzada — the group’s top religious leader — as the country’s new supreme authority.
The US, the EU and others have stressed that formal recognition of this government depends on its action, with Victoria Nuland, US undersecretary of state, saying: “We’re not going to take them at their word, we’re going to take them at their deeds.”
Meanwhile, defence secretary Ben Wallace said he warned his ministerial colleagues in July of a Taliban takeover in Afghanistan.
In a deepening row with Mr Raab, he countered the foreign secretary’s claim that a failure in intelligence was to blame for the UK’s slow response to the crisis. “History shows us that it’s not about failure of intelligence, it’s about the limits of intelligence,” he said.