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Afghanistan: UK and Taliban in talks over further evacuations

The UK is in talks with the Taliban to secure safe passage out of Afghanistan for a number of British nationals and Afghans who remain there.

The talks, involving UK officials and senior Taliban members, are taking place in Doha, Qatar, No 10 said.

The defence secretary is understood to have told MPs that between 150 and 250 people eligible for relocation - plus their families - remain in the country.

It comes after a Taliban pledge to allow further departures.

Commenting on the UK-Taliban negotiations, a No 10 spokesman said: "The prime minister's special representative for Afghan transition, Sir Simon Gass, has travelled to Doha and is meeting with senior Taliban representatives to underline the importance of safe passage out of Afghanistan for British nationals, and those Afghans who have worked with us over the past 20 years."

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will face questions from MPs later over his handling of the UK's withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Opposition parties called for his resignation last month after it emerged he had been unavailable to make a phone call about evacuating interpreters while he was on holiday in Crete.

Mr Raab subsequently said that "with hindsight" he would not have gone away, but dismissed the idea that he was "lounging on the beach" as "nonsense".

Labour's shadow foreign secretary, Lisa Nandy, said Mr Raab had answers to give on "much more than the chaos of the last two weeks", adding: "The foreign secretary had 18 months to prepare but was missing in action."

Downing Street has insisted that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has "full confidence" in Mr Raab and there are "no plans" for a Cabinet reshuffle.




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