The Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said that the UK government were “caught off guard” as they did not see the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan coming.
Raab said that the UK government will have to engage with the Taliban leadership of Afghanistan in the future to hold them to account amid their actions.
British intelligence were tracking the Taliban on the ground in Afghanistan “very carefully.”
The Foreign Secretary told Sky News, “The truth is, across the world, people were caught by surprise. I haven’t spoken to an international interlocutor, including countries in the region over the last week, who hasn’t been surprised.
“We saw a very swift change in the dynamics, and of course this has been part and parcel of the withdrawal of Western troops, but it has also been the way and the approach of the Taliban.
“Of course it’s been a test for the Afghan security forces. All of those factors have been very fluid. But no one saw this coming. Of course we would have taken action if we had.”
He defended his decision to return from his holiday when he did, adding he arrived back in the UK “as soon as the situation deteriorated and demanded it”.
Raab was asked by the BBC if he would sit down with his counterpart in the Taliban government, he said that this will not happen “for the foreseeable future.”
He told BBC Breakfast, We’ve always had dialogue of some sort, either indirectly through third parties, or through the Taliban’s political commission in Doha.
“It is important to be able to engage at least in some shape or form to test and to exert as much influence as we credibly, realistically can, and also to try and hold the Taliban to account to the new commitments they made.”