Taliban is 'trying to act a little bit differently', ex National Security Adviser says

26 August 2021, 08:13

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Sir Mark Lyall-Grant, ex-UK ambassador to the UN and a former national security adviser, said there had been signals the current Taliban is "trying to act a little bit differently" to previous leadership.

"We have to be honest, one of the remarkable aspects of the last 12 days or so is how disciplined the Taliban have been," he told LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast.

"No evacuation would have been possible unless the Taliban had facilitated it. They are in control of security in Kabul and the Americans are co-operating closely with them for that reason.

"So I think, although clearly there have been reports of atrocities, and people are being killed, and women are being taken etcetera, it's the relatively few in number that has surprised me, given the brutality that we saw 20 years ago.

"I think there are some signs that this Taliban leadership is trying to act a little bit differently."

The conversation comes at UK nationals have been warned not to travel to Kabul airport amid the "high threat" of a terrorist attack, as the evacuation deadline from Afghanistan approaches.

A timetable for British troops to halt evacuations and begin their own exit has not been set out but is likely to come ahead of the departure of their American counterparts.

The Taliban has warned evacuations "will not be allowed" after Tuesday's deadline and suggested foreign forces remaining past the deadline would cross a "red line" that will "provoke a reaction".