KABUL – British lawmaker Tobias Ellwood has urged the UK government to reopen its embassy in Kabul and engage with the Taliban in order to prevent a potential surge in terrorism.
Despite his personal history of losing a brother to militants, Ellwood clarified that he is not an advocate for appeasing the Taliban. During a recent visit to Afghanistan, he witnessed undisclosed compromises that the war-weary nation appears willing to accept. Ellwood observed improved security, unhindered travel, and a decrease in widespread corruption, noting that the opium trade also seemed to have vanished.
He expressed surprise at the relative peace in Afghanistan, something unseen since the 1970s, and acknowledged the strategic missteps of the West in comparison to the accomplishments of the Taliban. He emphasized the need to reopen the UK embassy as the first step toward rethinking and re-engaging with the Taliban.
However, it is important to recognize that the decision has political and security implications, rather than being solely focused on human rights. The Taliban’s imposition of more than 50 suppressive policies, such as limiting women’s rights to education and work and banning them from public spaces, raises concerns.
Recently, the Taliban even prohibited women’s beauty salons and introduced laws preventing their presence in parks and gyms. Ellwood acknowledged the need for a practical approach to dealing with the Taliban but did not offer a specific plan for addressing the restrictions on women’s education and employment.
He suggested that these limitations could potentially be bargaining chips for negotiation but acknowledged that their impact would remain uncertain until action is taken.