“Judge Taliban On Actions, Not Words”: UK PM Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson defended his government’s handling of the crisis, insisting that Britain had prepared for all scenarios.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday said Britain has helped more than 2,000 Afghans to flee the country in recent days, as he warned the Taliban must be judged “on actions, not words”.

As MPs were rapidly called back to parliament from their summer holidays for an emergency debate, Boris Johnson addressed them and defended his government’s handling of the crisis, insisting that Britain had prepared for all scenarios.

Britain had so far secured the safe return of 306 British nationals and 2,052 Afghan nationals as part of its resettlement programme, while 2,000 more Afghan applications were complete and “many more” were being processed, the British Prime Minister informed the Parliament.

“UK officials are working round the clock to keep the exit door open in the most difficult circumstances and actively seeking those we believe are eligible but as yet unregistered,” Johnson told a packed House of Commons.

On late Tuesday, the British government announced resettlement scheme for Afghans fleeing the Taliban after their return to power, offering an initial 5,000 places in the first year, rising to up to 20,000 in the long term.

Priority will be given to those most at risk, including Afghan women, children and others forced to flee or facing threats and persecution from the hardliners, offering them a chance to remain in Britain indefinitely, the government said.

Some 900 British troops have been rapidly sent back to Kabul to help the repatriation and evacuation efforts.

The British Prime Minister, however, faced critical questioning from a range of MPs, including many from his own ruling Conservative party, over the chaotic evacuations from Kabul and unfolding situation in Afghanistan.

PM Johnson said that after conversations with other Western leaders including US President Joe Biden, the allies had “agreed that it would be a mistake for any country to recognise any new regime in Kabul prematurely or bilaterally”.

“Instead, those countries that care about Afghanistan’s future should work towards common conditions about the conduct of the new regime before deciding, together, whether to recognise it and on what terms,” he said.

“We will judge this regime based on the choices it makes and by its actions rather than by its words, on its attitudes to terrorism, to crime and narcotics, as well as humanitarian access and the rights of girls to receive an education”.

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