‘We will hold you accountable’: Dominic Raab threatens Taliban over Afghanistan human rights

ITV News Political correspondent Carl Dinnen reports on how the British government has reacted to the situation in Afghanistan as the Taliban gain control

Britain has warned Taliban it will be held accountable if it does not protect human rights in Afghanistan after overthrowing the government of the country.

Foreign Minister Dominic Raab, speaking to TV stations following an emergency meeting in Cobra held to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, said Britain had used its G7 presidency to “make it clear to the Taliban that we will keep them” for accounting purposes “.

Asked how that would be possible, given that the British military has withdrawn from the country, Raab said it would be achieved through “cooperation with our partners, through everything from the sanctions we can apply to the ODA”. (official development assistance), which we will hold back in pending reform “.

He said there were “levers” that Britain could pull to persuade the Taliban to stick to a “series of commitments, a series of commitments” made on human rights, “and I think that’s right for Britain, but also critical to working with our partners that they are kept to the commitments they have made “.

ITV News Political correspondent Carl Dinnen explains how the government aims to create an Afghan refugee policy similar to the Syrian policy

The UN Security Council also held an emergency meeting on Monday afternoon to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on the 15-member Council to “use all the tools at its disposal” to prevent Afghanistan from becoming home to global terrorist groups.

He also called on the group, which includes Britain and the United States, to stop human rights abuses in the country and to be willing to receive Afghan refugees.

Guterres said: “We are receiving terrible reports of serious human rights restrictions across the country.”

“I am particularly concerned about reports of increasing human rights violations against women and girls in Afghanistan.”

Afghanistan’s representative at the council meeting reiterated this concern, saying: “Millions of Afghan girls and women are losing their freedom to go to school, work, participate in the political and social life of the country.”

The two emergency meetings come as the Ministry of Defense said another 200 British troops would be sent to Kabul to help with the evacuation efforts.

Raab said whether sanctions were sought against Afghanistan would “depend on the Taliban’s behavior”.

“As I said, we will use all the funds we have available.

“We need to work with our partners, we need to expand the assembly in countries that are willing to exercise positive influence, to curb the worst excesses we experienced in the Taliban in the past, and we need to consolidate. and try to stabilize gains – which are significant – that we have achieved with so much blood, sweat, tears and loss of life for over 20 years, and that is what we are committed to doing.

The foreign minister also admitted that the speed of the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan came as a surprise to the government.

After reading comments from Boris Johnson earlier this year and saying that a military takeover of the country would not be possible for the Islamist group, Raab said: “Everyone, I think, has been surprised by the scale and pace at which the Taliban have taken over in Afghanistan and it is a lesson we all have to learn from.

“But the truth is, what matters right now is to focus on getting British citizens out, getting those who have so faithfully served Britain, and making sure that the gains we have made over 20 years are not lost. . ”

He said the evacuation effort would see 150 more British nationals return overnight after the 289 Afghan nationals who had worked for the British government arrived last week.

And 350 more British nationals and Afghans will arrive in Britain in the coming days.

About 300 British nationals and embassy staff arrived in Britain on Sunday night as a group of 600 military personnel struggled to get as many as possible out of Kabul as quickly as possible, amid the Taliban’s takeover of the Afghan capital and its airport.

When asked how many refugees Britain planned to receive from Afghanistan, the Foreign Secretary was unable to provide a number.

“We are working very carefully. We are, of course, a generous nation, we have the criteria for asylum set out in the legislation, we are working with the UN on that. We are working very carefully on what further commitments we can make.”

Asked if he could give a ballpark figure, he said, “Not at this point.”

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