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UK reaches out to Russia and China as global equations shift in Afghanistan

Britain wants a consensus over Afghanistan within the United Nations Security Council (Photo: IANS)

With the power structure changing swiftly in Afghanistan, political realignments are happening. The US is no longer interested in carrying on with its intervention in Afghanistan while Russia and China seem to be showing a symmetry with the new rulers—the Taliban.

Feeling let down by the Americans, the UK is beginning to think that it may help to work with Russia and China as they seem to hold leverage with the Taliban.

Russian news agency TASS reported on Monday that there is a feeling in London that "Russia and China may have the opportunity to influence the new government in Kabul", which could create space for the British government to join in. UK joining Russia and China would also mean a more cohesive plan of action among the permanent five UN Security Council (UNSC) members.

Citing unnamed sources, TASS said: "We recognize the need to work with Russia and China given their potential ability to influence the new Afghan government and our collective interests in countering terrorism and narcotics, preventing a refugee crisis and averting further economic collapse".

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres plans to hold a UNSC meeting this Monday.

The main thrust of the British strategy seems to be sending a clear signal to the Taliban to honour its commitment to providing a safe passage to foreign nationals and Afghans with travel authorisation from leaving the country. The UK also wants the Taliban to not allow the country to once again become a haven for terrorists. Along with putting pressure on the Taliban, the UK also wants the Taliban to allow UN staff to continue humanitarian operations benefiting the Afghan people.

Quoting diplomatic sources, TASS says: "The draft resolution has been under negotiation amongst UNSC members over the weekend with the aim of adopting it early this week".

Many influential British are consumed by remorse over how the 20-year old US-driven strategy unwound within weeks as the US and NATO began pulling out their forces. The UK had been the staunchest supporter of the US in its role in Afghanistan, thinking that by eliminating terror the Western nations could push the country towards reforms and stability. However, the US and its allies were left bewildered as the Taliban rushed into Kabul with full force, casting aside the well-trained and equipped Afghan army.

After two decades of 'nation-building' in Afghanistan, a dejected West is wondering if it needs to take into account other countries' influence with the Taliban to ensure that the nation does not go off-track once again. British efforts to get the permanent five on a united platform is evidence that the UK is warming up to powers besides the US.