Raab says everyone was ‘surprised’ by Taliban takeover
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The Sky News presenter challenged the Foreign Secretary’s claims that the UK had not predicted Taliban insurgents would have been able to reclaim Kabul despite sweeping advances across Afghanistan. Dominic Raab insisted the speed of the militants had taken both the British Government and its international partners “by surprise”. Ms Burley said: “Given that you said – not just you but many – you were taken by surprise, how disappointed are you that our military top brass didn’t know this was coming?”
Mr Raab said: “It’s not just a question about the way of the military.
“We have an assessment process, we’ve looked at it since I’ve become Foreign Secretary, I’ve been in National Security Council meeting, we’ve monitored this very carefully.
“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.”
The response prompted the Sky News presenter to quip: “Shouldn’t you be able to predict better after 20 years in the country?”
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Mr Raab responded: “We saw a very swift change in the dynamics.
“Of course, this has been part and parcel of the withdrawal of western troops but it’s also been in the way and the approach of the Taliban.”
Ms Burley also questioned whether the British Government will be collaborating with the new Taliban leadership of Afghanistan in the future despite as she branded the insurgents a “ragtag bunch of thugs.”
The Foreign Secretary insisted the Taliban will need to “prove” they are willing to participate in international politics.
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Mr Raab said: “I’m not going to dissent from that view but they are now in power, and we now need to deal with that reality.
“We want to test whether there is scope to moderate the kind of regime that we will now see in place.”
He continued: “Our message is going to be this: Afghanistan must never be used to launch terrorist attacks against the West, we’ve had 20 years of success in that regard.
“We want to do everything we can, through the full range of diplomatic-economic sanction measures, to make sure we can use as much leverage as we conceivably have, and I’m realistic about that, to try and moderate and exercise some form of positive influence around the regime.
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