Following the Prime Minister’s statement on Afghanistan, James Sunderland calls on the PM to recognise that, whilst we may not want to engage with the Taliban, we have no choice and should consider a forward presence in Kabul.
It is very easy to apportion blame with the benefit of hindsight, but this is a really complex environment and the current situation is as much a failure of leadership in Afghanistan as anything else. While we may not want to engage with the Taliban, does the Prime Minister agree that we have no choice but to do so, perhaps with a forward presence in Kabul in the same way as our Chinese and Russian adversaries?
My hon. Friend is very wise in what he says. I believe that it is inevitable for us to engage with the Taliban. Indeed, we have been: at the airport, British troops were working directly with their Taliban counterparts to ensure that the operation went through. That was an inevitability. We will of course look at further co-operation, but as I said to the House, we will judge the new regime in Kabul not by what they say, but by what they do.