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23 Aug, 2021 14:38

After catastrophic US retreat from Afghanistan, Britain will have to turn to Russia & China for 'influence' over Taliban, UK says

After catastrophic US retreat from Afghanistan, Britain will have to turn to Russia & China for 'influence' over Taliban, UK says

As American troops continue their withdrawal from Kabul, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has admitted that London will now have to depend on Moscow and Beijing for support if it wants to do deals with the Taliban in future.

Speaking as part of an interview with the Sunday Telegraph published over the weekend, the UK's top diplomat acknowledged that his country and its allies have limited sway with Afghanistan and would have to turn to other nations when it comes to forming ties with the new government.

"We're going to have to bring in countries with a potentially moderating influence like Russia and China, however uncomfortable that is," Raab said. Working in partnership with a broader range of partners, he said, was the only way that Britain could exert a "moderating influence" on the Taliban.

Also on rt.com Collapse of American-backed government in Afghanistan is opportunity for Russia & China ‘to fill the vacuum,’ EU chiefs claim

Last week, the EU's top foreign policy bosses co-signed an open letter in which they warned that President Joe Biden's decision to wind down American military involvement in the troubled Central Asian nation was putting the West in a difficult position. "We deeply deplore the recent political, military, and moral calamity in Afghanistan and express our deep concerns about the situation," Brussels' international affairs chiefs said. "The hasty withdrawal of US and NATO troops from the country without a condition base and the shocking collapse of Afghan institutions and its security forces allowed the Taliban to take over the country in an unexpectedly rapid way."

At the same time, he argued, the humanitarian crisis in Kabul brings geopolitical challenges "considering that Russia and China will quickly try to fill the political vacuum."

Both Moscow and Beijing have sought to build bridges with the Islamist militants who have now assumed de facto control over the country. Zamir Kabulov, Russian President Vladimir Putin's envoy for Afghanistan, has argued relations will improve now that US troops have largely departed. "If we compare how easy it is to negotiate as colleagues and partners, then the Taliban have seemed to me for a long time much more prepared for negotiations than the [American-backed] puppet Kabul government were," he said.

Also on rt.com PM Johnson says UK will work with Taliban to ‘find a solution’ for Afghanistan

Earlier this month, Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said that China was a welcome "friend" in its plans to rebuild the country, and called on Beijing to support economic development "as soon as possible." China holds rights to help extract Afghanistan's massive mineral resources, but delays due to the security situation have long hampered plans for investment and extraction.

In a statement posted to Twitter on Monday, the Russian Embassy in the UK said that "the objective reality is that Washington's comfortable position of US hegemony is receding into the past against the backdrop of the strengthening political positions of Russia and China."

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