The British government sent a diplomatic mission to Afghanistan on Tuesday, Oct. 5, to meet with leaders of the extremist Taliban group that controls the country to prevent the country from becoming an ‘incubator of terrorism’ and extending humanitarian aid, the Daily Mail reported.
According to the British government press release, the Prime Minister’s High Representative for the Afghan Transition, Sir Simon Gass, and the Chargé d’Affaires of the UK Mission to Afghanistan in Doha, Dr. Martin Longden, traveled to Afghanistan today for talks with the Taliban.
Sir Simon and Dr. Longden discussed how the UK could help Afghanistan deal with the humanitarian crisis, the importance of preventing the country from becoming an incubator for terrorism, and the need to maintain safe passage for those who want to leave the country. They also raised the treatment of minorities and the rights of women and girls.
A Twitter post that appeared to be from a Taliban foreign affairs spokesman said, “The meeting focused on detailed discussions about reviving diplomatic relations between both countries, assurance of security by IEA (Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan) for all citizens entering legally, and humanitarian assistance by UK for the Afghans.”
On the other hand, spokesman for the Islamic regime, Abdul Qahar Balkhi, stated that the British delegation said Boris Johnson “was trying to establish relations with the IEA taking into account the prevailing circumstances,” while the Taliban regime said the UK “must take positive steps regarding relations and cooperation, and begin a new chapter of constructive relations.”
He added: “We expect others to also not work towards weakening our government,” referring primarily to the United States.
According to the BBC, the meeting does not mean that the UK has recognized the Taliban as a legitimate government but only intends to establish a communication channel.
The decision of Boris Johnson’s government attracted criticism from his own Conservative (Tory) party due to the criminal record of some of the Taliban leaders now running the country.
According to Daily Mail, Tom Tugenhadt, a former army officer and Conservative MP who chairs the Commons foreign affairs committee, said the terrorists prepared “a slick PR operation that conceals a vicious death cult.”
Tugenhadt said it was “absolutely clear” that Taliban guerrillas were already rounding up and killing Afghans working with the West in cities such as Kabul, Kandahar, and Lashkar Gah, despite publicly saying they would not do so.
Tugendhat said it was also clear that the extremists “deny education to girls” and do not let women work or participate in politics.
In a statement last week, the Taliban regime announced that the practice of cutting off the hands of thieves and executing murderers found guilty of such crimes in public places would return to the country.
According to South China Morning Post, executions of convicted murderers used to be a single shot to the head, carried out by the victim’s family.
For convicted thieves, the punishment was the amputation of a hand. Those convicted of highway robbery had a hand and foot amputated.
However, although punishments and executions are done publicly, the equivalent of a ‘trial’ in the West rests with Islamic clerics who judge everything based on their knowledge of the Islamic religion, and rarely are such trials held in public.
The British meeting is the first diplomatic meeting of a Western government with the Taliban. It could open the door for other governments, especially from the European Union, to follow suit.
The United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001 after discovering that the Taliban regime had allowed and facilitated Al-Qaeda terrorists to attack the World Trade Center on Sept. 11.
U.S. military forces removed the Taliban from power and helped create a government of their own.
After U.S. and allied troops withdrew from Afghanistan in August, the Taliban overthrew the Afghan government and regained power in the country.