DOHA, Qatar — UK senior civil servant, Simon Gass, met with senior Taliban leader Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai in Doha—the capital of Qatar— and discussed humanitarian aid, security, and political issues, and bilateral relations.
Taliban spokesperson M. Naeem announced the meeting on Twitter. Simon Gass, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Special Representative for Afghan Transition, is currently in Doha to talk with Taliban leaders.
“Mr. Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, Deputy Chief of the Political Office of the Islamic Emirate, and his accompanying delegation met with Simon Gass, Representative of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and a delegation in Doha today,” tweeted Naeem.
“The meeting focused on humanitarian aid, security and political issues, as well as bilateral relations.”
“The British delegation added that they have doubled their humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan and are ready to continue cooperating with the Islamic Emirate in this regard,” he tweeted.
“The delegation of the Islamic Emirate thanked them for their humanitarian assistance.”
The UK government has reportedly opened a discussion with the Taliban to ensure the safe passage of its remaining nationals from Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, Dominic Raab, UK foreign secretary, is also visiting Afghanistan’s neighboring countries. He arrived in Qatar on Sept. 2 to discuss the Afghanistan situation with Qatar Foreign Minister in Doha.
Raab met with the evacuees from Afghanistan hosted by Qatar and said that the UK would continue working with their partners in response to the humanitarian plight and ensure safe passage for those who want to leave the war-torn country.
The security situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated sharply in the past few weeks as the Taliban took over the capital city of Kabul following months of violence.
On Aug. 18, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson had decided to double the humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan amid the Taliban’s takeover.
“The UK will double the amount of its humanitarian and development assistance to Afghanistan, bringing it to a total of 286 million pounds ($393.3 million),” Johnson said.
The terror group is expected to announce a new government in Afghanistan. The movement’s supreme leader, Haibatullah Akhundzada, is expected to have ultimate power over a new governing council, with a president below him, Taliban officials have said.
In the run-up to government formation, the Taliban is holding talks with several countries worldwide to gain legitimacy. They have assured world leaders not to allow Afghanistan again to become a sanctuary of terrorists.
However, British security agencies are concerned that the Taliban could allow jihadist groups to set up training camps similar to those run by al-Qaida before Sept. 11.
(With inputs from ANI)
Edited by Saptak Datta and Ritaban Misra
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