Raab chairs G7 meeting amid calls for him to step down

FOREIGN ministers of the G7 have reiterated their calls for the Taliban to allow safe passage for those seeking to leave Afghanistan.

Dominic Raab, the UK foreign secretary, chaired a meeting with his counterparts from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US amid growing tension in the country.

It comes as Mr Raab faces calls to resign over reports he ignored his aides’ advice to contact his Afghan counterpart last Friday, while he was on holiday.

He has resisted the calls so far.

In a statement, Mr Raab confirmed he chaired the meeting of G7 foreign ministers this afternoon where they “spoke about the gravity of the situation and the significant loss of life”.

He said: “G7 Ministers support the statement of the UN Security Council on 16 August, and affirmed our commitment in particular to the urgent need for the cessation of violence, respect for human rights including for women, children and minorities, inclusive negotiations about the future of Afghanistan, and the need for all parties to respect international humanitarian law…”

He added that the group “underlined the importance” of the Taliban keeping with their promises to protect human rights, and were “deeply concerned by reports of violent reprisals in parts of Afghanistan.”

On Tuesday the Taliban held a press conference, where the group’s spokesman said anyone who worked with foreign military forces had been pardoned, and they would not be in danger. He also said the rights of women and girls would be protected in line with Sharia law.

However reports have emerged of violence sweeping across the country at the hands of Taliban fighters, with interpreters and others who worked with occupying forces forced in to hiding as they fear for their lives. There have also been reports of some female journalists being told they no longer have jobs.

Mr Raab continued: “G7 Ministers discussed the importance of the international community providing safe and legal resettlement routes. They concurred that the Taliban must ensure that Afghanistan does not become host to a terrorist threat to international security.”

He said the group would “seek to secure an inclusive political settlement” which would prevent further casualties both in Afghanistan and in western countries as a result of terrorism, adding that the ministers “ call on the international community to come together with a shared mission to prevent the crisis in Afghanistan escalating.”

The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992