David Miliband calls for 'unified' engagement with Taliban

David Miliband calls for 'unified' international engagement with the Taliban
2 min read
27 August, 2021
Britain's former foreign minister said that the UK and the US must unite in a 'fair and balanced' UN-led engagement with Afghanistan's new rulers - one that includes China and Russia.
David Miliband, who is the president of the International Crisis Committee, warned of a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan [AFP/Getty]

The former foreign minister of the UK Labour Party has warned that the country must work with the Taliban alongside Russia and China to avert a humanitarian catastrophe in Afghanistan.

In an interview with The Guardian, David Miliband described an "invisible crisis" facing many Afghans , who are dependent on aid for their survival. As the US ends its evacuation mission on Tuesday, the plight of millions of impoverished Afghans is compounded by rising Covid-19 cases and a nationwide drought.

Miliband, who is president of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), called for the international community to unify and back a "full and balanced" UN-led engagement with Afghanistan’s new rulers - one that includes Moscow and Beijing.

"When it comes to engagement with the new authorities in Kabul, my approach to this is you need to do diplomacy with everyone," Miliband said.

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"The western engagement needs to be built on unity amongst the west, but also engagement with Russia and China, because a united international response is far more likely to lead to effective engagement than one that’s fragmented."

China and Russia's policies towards the Taliban have largely stood at odds with the West for many reasons and analysts say Beijing will eventually fill the power vacuum after the US withdraws on Tuesday.

Miliband also appeared to suggest that the wealthiest seven democracies neglected Afghanistan in a G7 meeting held in Cornwall two months ago.

"June was a time when Afghanistan should have been on the agenda… I think that the absence of a recognition of an increasingly boiling pot in Afghanistan is a blot, to put it mildly."