We don’t need EU! Boris asserts Global Britain as Biden looks to UK over Brussels
Taliban says Joe Biden will 'provoke a reaction' if US troops stay
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The leaders will speak during an emergency G7 summit on Tuesday as the Government presses for American troops to remain beyond August 31 to secure the capital’s airport for rescue flights. Ministers still want to evacuate thousands more people including UK passport holders and those under the Afghan relocations and assistance policy (Arap) scheme.
But Mr Biden signalled on Sunday that he did not want US armed forces to stay in the central Asian country beyond August.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said it was “in the Taliban’s interest to keep the country open”.
He added: “Of course, the United States and the G7 are not the only stakeholders in this, the Taliban, now, have a vote and the security situation is precarious, and I think that’s why we have to see what we can do.
“I think what I would also say is that it’s in the Taliban’s interest to keep the country open, there are border crossing points into Islamabad and in Pakistan to some of the other neighbouring countries that are open.”
Government insiders told Express.co.uk the request for a meeting by Mr Johnson will help to “assert the UK’s dominance” in handling the crisis.
A No 10 source added: “Boris will give his message to President Biden and press for an extension.
“Whilst this is not guaranteed, we are making our position clear on the global stage.”
However, the move has received divided attention among Westminster politicians today.
Tory MP Sir John Redwood said the UK worked “best when we do what we think is right and construct alliances and support groups accordingly”.
The Wokingham MP continued: “Global Britain means having our own policy and recruiting allies for each mission or cause.
“The UK establishment should not seek to do what the USA or EU presses us to do unless it is right for us.
“The EU was never our best friend and has revealed since we left just how much it still wants to control us in its interests and those of its two leading powerful members, France and Germany.
“President Biden’s foolish decision to pull out unilaterally overnight from Afghanistan has done great damage to alliances and to the Middle East.”
Nick Thomas-Symonds, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, accused the UK Government of “gross negligence” for not preparing for the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan earlier.
He added: “The Government hasn’t prepared for this situation despite knowing that Joe Biden had made that campaign pledge and was going to withdraw from Afghanistan.
“And it is frankly gross negligence from our government that they’ve left us in this situation.”
The Torfaen MP also called on the Government to “move heaven and earth to persuade the United States to remain” in Afghanistan after the date agreed by Mr Biden of August 31.
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Meanwhile, the SNP has urged Mr Johnson to deliver daily updates on the UK government’s evacuation efforts in Afghanistan.
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford, who wrote to the UK Prime Minister, said: “As the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan continues to unfold, complete clarity and transparency is required.
“Those facing the agonising wait for evacuation are desperate for information, desperate for clarity and are desperately trying to get away from the Taliban.”
But Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said the evacuation effort continuing in Afghanistan past the end of the month would be a “red line” and would “provoke a reaction”.
Speaking to Sky News, he added: “This is something … you can say it’s a red line.
“President Biden announced this agreement that on August 31 they would withdraw all their military forces.
“So, if they extend it that means they are extending occupation while there is no need for that.
“It will create mistrust between us. If they are intent on continuing the occupation, so it will provoke a reaction.”
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