'Are the Taliban the enemy?' Nick Ferrari puts Defence Secretary on the spot

19 August 2021, 08:22

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace says he won't call the Taliban 'the enemy' and 'provoke the people who are currently running the country.'

When asked by LBC's Nick Ferrari if the Taliban are the enemy the Defence Secretary Ben Wallace would not commit to using the term.

Recalling an interview with General Sir Nick Carter on Wednesday, Nick said the General was "at pains to say we shouldn't just paint the Taliban as the enemy."

The conversation comes as the UK launches a diplomatic push to encourage allies to join it in offering to take in Afghan refugees fleeing the Taliban regime.

Watch: 'Grim' desperate and sad' scenes as mothers throw babies over fence at Kabul airport

"In your view, Secretary of State, is the Taliban the enemy?"

The Cabinet minister said he would not use "language that could inflame the people that we need at the moment to help get the people out."

Read more: Desperate Afghan mothers fleeing Taliban 'throw babies over Kabul airport barbed wire'

He said there was "no point provoking the people who are currently running the country."

The Defence Secretary said the UK will judge the Taliban on "their actions not their words."

Posing a tough question Nick asked if the Taliban can ever be friends of the UK.

"International diplomacy is not really always about friendships," Mr Wallace said.

Read more: Taliban 'beat and whip' crowds as regime tightens grip on Afghanistan

Read more: 'We're not trained to lose': Veteran MPs condemn 'shameful' Afghanistan withdrawal

Yesterday, a Downing Street spokeswoman said: "Today the Prime Minister set out the UK's significant offer to address the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan - doubling our humanitarian aid to the region and establishing one of the most generous asylum schemes in British history.

"He also outlined the UK's broader strategy for Afghanistan and the region, including the need to unite the international community behind a clear plan for dealing with the Taliban regime in a unified and concerted way.

"We are now asking our international partners to match the UK's commitments and work with us to offer a lifeline to Afghanistan's most vulnerable people."