Britain will push for sanctions against the Taliban at G7 meeting sources

LONDON, August 22 (Reuters) – Britain plans to pressure world leaders to consider new sanctions against the Taliban when the G7 meets on Tuesday to discuss the crisis in Afghanistan, sources told Reuters.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who currently heads the group, which includes the United States, Italy, France, Germany, Japan and Canada, on Sunday called for the virtual meeting in the wake of the Taliban’s rapid takeover of Afghanistan.

Britain believes the G7 should consider economic sanctions and withhold aid if the Taliban commit human rights violations and allow its territory to be used as a refuge for militants, a British official said on condition of anonymity on Sunday.

Taliban militants seized control of Kabul last weekend in an upheaval that sent civilian and Afghan military allies fleeing for security. Many fear a return to the strict interpretation of Islamic law imposed under the former Taliban rule that ended 20 years ago.

“It is vital that the international community work together to ensure secure evacuations, prevent a humanitarian crisis and support the Afghan people to secure the gains of the last 20 years,” Johnson said on Twitter on Sunday.

Sanctions against the Taliban are unlikely to be passed immediately, a Western diplomat said. British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab first raised the possibility of sanctions to pressure the Taliban last week. Read more

Biden, who has been shot at home and abroad for his handling of the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, told reporters last week that G7 leaders will hammer a common approach to the Taliban and have held talks with Johnson, German Chancellor Angela Merkel , French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.

Biden is scheduled to deliver remarks to Afghanistan in the White House on Sunday afternoon. The U.S. military said earlier in the day that it had ordered commercial aircraft help transport people who have already been evacuated from Afghanistan.

Biden told reporters on Friday that he and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken would work with other countries to set “tough conditions” for any cooperation with or recognition of the Taliban, based on their treatment of women and girls and the overall human rights record.

Reporting by Andrew MacAskill in London and Andrea Shalal in Washington; further writing by Susan Heavey; Edited by Susan Fenton, Giles Elgood, Grant McCool, Heather Timmons and Daniel Wallis

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