London Appears Unready to Pour Billions Into Taliban as Movement Urges to Pay Afghan War Reparations
The West's nearly two-decade military campaign in Afghanistan wrapped up in late August, when the US-led coalition withdrew troops from the country. The pullout came amid the Taliban* taking over Afghanistan and forming an interim government.
The UK government has reportedly yet to decide on whether it should pay hefty compensation to the Taliban over the almost 20-year war in Afghanistan
The Mirror cited an unnamed Whitehall source as saying that the government doesn't know "what they're going to ask for yet but it could be in the billions [of pounds] across everyone involved", in an apparent reference to the Taliban.
The source added that "whether we [the government] pay it or not is a different matter".
The remarks came as Noor Mohammad Mutawakel, a spokesman for Afghanistan's acting Ministry of Information and Culture with the Taliban government, argued that "Britain is ready to pay us [the militants] war reparations, and we welcome that". The spokesman added that "other countries involved in the war must also be prepared to pay".
6 September 2021, 09:39 GMT
Colonel Richard Kemp, a former commander of UK troops in Afghanistan, reacted angrily to the remarks by stressing that "it is an outrage for the terrorist group that took over the country to demand reparations from countries that fought in Afghanistan to support the legitimate government".
"The British government should not even contemplate paying a penny to these bloodthirsty killers. This will be the first of many demands from a regime capable of murdering, torturing, and subjugating the population – and driving the country to ruin", he claimed.
Philip Ingram, an ex-UK Army intelligence officer, in turn, asserted that Britain is currently "in a very difficult position". He added that he does not think the government "should pay but it is important no country pays as any lack of unity will be exploited [by the Taliban]".
Ingram described the militants as "very clever", noting that "all through the evacuation they kept making statements they knew western governments wanted to hear".
"Now aid has been cut and they need cash, they are doing the same with their messaging and will probably link it to allowing people to leave", he said.
The US-led coalition completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan on 31 August, ending the West's almost 20-year military presence
in Afghanistan. The latter claimed the lives of at least 46,319 Afghan civilians, according to the Costs of War Project at Providence-based Brown University.
The pullout wrapped up two weeks after the Taliban seized power in the country
, which was followed by the militant group forming an all-male interim government and declaring the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
*The Taliban is a terrorist group banned in Russia and many other countries.