We will judge the Taliban on their 'actions rather than words' – PM

18 August 2021, 11:27

Boris Johnson said the new regime would be judged on "the choices it makes" but that defending human rights would be the "highest priority"
Boris Johnson said the new regime would be judged on "the choices it makes" but that defending human rights would be the "highest priority". Picture: Alamy Live News

By Daisy Stephens

Boris Johnson has said the Taliban’s regime will be judged by "actions rather than by its words".

Debating the crisis in Afghanistan in the House of Commons, Mr Johnson stressed the importance of dealing with the group in a "unified" way.

"We must face the reality of a change in regime in Afghanistan," said Mr Johnson to MPs.

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"It would be a mistake for any country to recognise any new regime in Kabul prematurely or bilaterally… those countries that care about Afghanistan’s future should work together towards common conditions about the conduct of the new regime before deciding together whether to recognise it and on what terms."

"We will judge this regime based on the choices it makes and by its actions rather than by its words."

He added: "Defending human rights will remain of the highest priority."

Parliament has been recalled during summer recess in order to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.

There is controversy over whether British troops should be deployed in the country, but Mr Johnson was insistent it is an "illusion" there is any desire for "continued military presence".

There is also debate over what the collapse of the government means for the years of fighting between the Taliban and allied forces, with some left feeling like it was for nothing.

Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer paid tribute to the members of the house who fought in the Afghan war.

He then went on to "directly address" all British soldiers and their families.

"I want to address directly all those who served in Afghanistan and their families, especially the families of whose who were lost," he said.

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"Your sacrifice was not in vain. You brought stability, reduced the terrorist threat and enabled progress. We are all proud of what you did."

But he went on to say that the sacrifices of the soldiers "deserved better than this", and accused the Government of a "major miscalculation of the resilience of the Afghan forces".

He added: "The gains made through 20 years of sacrifice hang precariously."