“We’re going to have to be pragmatic” – POLITICO
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab called for a pragmatic approach for Afghanistan on Tuesday, saying the U.K. and its allies had to “make the best” of the situation and “put pressure on the Taliban to make sure it’s more moderated than in the past” in an interview with LBC Radio.
“We’re going to have to be pragmatic, as the U.K.’s policy’s always been … We’re going to need to be able to send clear messages,” he told Sky News, adding “they are now in power and we have to deal with that reality.”
Raab confirmed the situation at Kabul airport — where scenes of deadly chaos unfolded on Monday — is stabilizing due to a surge of U.S. and U.K. troops upping “security including crowd control.”
“Since Sunday we’ve evacuated 150 British nationals [and] 289 Afghans who served the U.K. in recent years,” the foreign minister said. He noted the plan is to confirm more flights as the security situation improves.
Raab, who according to the Telegraph was seen at the beach on the island of Crete while the Taliban took Kabul on Sunday, said he wouldn’t have gone “in retrospect.”
“Everyone was caught off-guard by the pace, scale of the Taliban takeover,” he told Sky News.
U.S. President Joe Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan has been met by disbelief by European leaders, and he faces growing criticism for how events have unfolded in the country.
On Tuesday, evacuation flights out of Kabul resumed while the U.S. president defended pulling U.S. forces out of the country.