UK says Taliban cooperating with British forces in evacuation

by Sami Burgaz
No reports of Taliban behaving in ‘medieval way’: Gen. Nick Carter.

LONDON (AA) – The UK’s chief of defense staff said on Wednesday that the Taliban, who have taken power in Afghanistan, are cooperating with British forces in evacuating people from the war-torn country.

“We are cooperating with the Taliban on the ground and that seems to be a very straightforward relationship,” Gen. Sir Nick Carter told Sky News. “They are keeping the streets of Kabul very safe and indeed very calm. They are helping us at the airport.”

He added: “What we’re not getting are reports of them behaving in a medieval way like you might have seen in the past.”

The military official suggested that the Taliban could be more moderate than they were last in control in the 1990s.

He said he does not think the Taliban “want to become international pariahs again,” adding: “I do think that they have changed.”

In his opening statement to the British parliament on Afghanistan, Prime Minister Boris Johnson also said that the Taliban are allowing the evacuations “to go ahead.”

Taliban overran the Afghan capital Kabul after the Western-backed government and resistance from its US- and NATO-trained forces collapsed.

The group has now declared the war in Afghanistan over, and efforts to form an “inclusive” government are underway.

According to the UK Defense Ministry, a Royal Air Force aircraft landed in the country Tuesday night with British nationals and those eligible under the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP), designed to help present and past employees of the UK government, from Kabul.

At least 520 British nationals, diplomats and former Afghan staff have left Afghanistan on UK military flights since Aug. 14.

Afghan citizens’ resettlement scheme

Separately, the government has announced a new Afghanistan citizens’ resettlement scheme to welcome up to 20,000 Afghan nationals who are at risk due to the current crisis. About 5,000 people are expected to arrive in the UK in 2021.

“Priority will be given to women and girls, and religious and other minorities, who are most at risk of human rights abuses and dehumanizing treatment by the Taliban,” said a government statement.

“I want to ensure that as a nation we do everything possible to provide support to the most vulnerable fleeing Afghanistan so they can start a new life in safety in the UK,” said Home Secretary Priti Patel. “The Afghan citizens’ resettlement scheme will save lives.”


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