The Taliban are set to demand the UK and other nations pay billions in reparations to Afghanistan for the 20-year war for after they took over the country.
The Islamist government will urge Britain to make the payments imminently, reports suggest, and the Taliban believe the UK will cave to their demands.
Veterans who fought in Afghanistan have slammed any request for reparations by the Taliban, who have executed dissidents, tortured prisoners and forced women into hiding since seizing power, as an ‘outrage’.
Noor Mohommad Mutawakel, from the Taliban’s Ministry of Information and Culture, told The Mirror: ‘Britain is ready to pay us war reparations, and we welcome that. Other countries involved in the war must also be prepared to pay.’
While Mutawakel appeared confident the UK will pay reparations, a Whitehall source case doubt on whether it will happen.
The Taliban are set to demand the UK and other nations pay billions in reparations to Afghanistan for the 20-year war for after they took over the country
The source told the newspaper: ‘We don’t know what they’re going to ask for yet but it could be in the billions across everyone involved. Whether we pay it or not is a different matter.’
Since the Taliban took over Afghanistan on August 15, the country – already struggling with drought and severe poverty from decades of war – has seen its economy all but collapse.
Most of the nation’s international assistance has been cut off, though there are exceptions for humanitarian aid. Billions of dollars in central bank assets held abroad have also been frozen, which has put pressure on the banking system.
But the Taliban’s demand for reparations is controversial given that the Islamist group have killed UK and allied soldiers.
Veterans who fought in Afghanistan have slammed any request for reparations by the Taliban, who have executed dissidents, tortured prisoners and forced women into hiding since seizing power, as an ‘outrage’. Pictured: 45 Commando Royal Marines taking part in an operation in Nad-e Ali in Afghanistan in 2011
Colonel Richard Kemp, a former infantry battalion commanding officer in Afghanistan, said: ‘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.’
In August, Stop the War Coalition, a campaign group which was chaired for more than a decade by the former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, urged the British government to pay reparations to the Taliban in order to ‘advance the rights of the Afghan people’.
The campaign group called for the UK to ‘take the lead in offering a refuge programme and reparations’ following the Taliban’s seizure of Afghanistan.
The organisation also said the disaster now unfolding in Afghanistan was the responsibility of the US, British and other NATO governments who ‘plunged into a war that was always doomed to fail’.
The Taliban have ruled out cooperation with the US to contain extremist groups in Afghanistan ahead of the first direct talks with America. Senior Taliban officials and U.S. representatives are meeting this weekend in Doha, the capital of Qatar. Pictured: Taliban delegates stand in front of a Qatar Airways plane in an unidentified location in Afghanistan, in this handout photo uploaded to social media on October 8
The reports of the Taliban’s imminent demands for the UK and other nations to pay them compensation comes after the Islamists ruled out cooperation with the US to contain extremist groups in Afghanistan ahead of the first direct talks with America.
Senior Taliban officials and U.S. representatives are meeting this weekend in Doha, the capital of Qatar.
Officials from both sides have said issues include reining in extremist groups and the evacuation of foreign citizens and Afghans from the country. The Taliban have signaled flexibility on evacuations.
However, Taliban political spokesman Suhail Shaheen told The Associated Press there would be no cooperation with Washington on containing the increasingly active Islamic State group in Afghanistan.
IS has taken responsibility for a number of recent attacks, including a suicide bombing Friday that killed 46 minority Shiite Muslims and wounded dozens as they prayed in a mosque in the northern city of Kunduz.
“We are able to tackle Daesh independently,” Shaheen said, when asked whether the Taliban would work with the U.S. to contain the Islamic State affiliate. He used an Arabic acronym for IS.
IS has carried out relentless assaults on the country’s Shiites since emerging in eastern Afghanistan in 2014. It is also seen as the terror group that poses the greatest threat to the United States for its potential to stage attacks on American targets
The Ministry of Defence refused to comment on the reparations but confirmed there will be compensation for civilian casualties in Afghanistan.