Senior British MP says he is not a Taliban appeaser for advocating deeper engagement

Senior British politician, Tobias Ellwood, has called on the UK government to reopen its embassy in Kabul and engage with the Taliban.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph newspaper, Ellwood, who chairs the British parliament’s Defence Select Committee, argues for a “more pragmatic strategy” in dealing with the Taliban.

Ellwood writes:

“The first step is reopening our embassy. The second is to get real. Afghanistan’s future could be war again or life as a Chinese vassal. The middle way I saw – however queasy we feel about it – needs us to rethink and re-engage.”

Ellwood who, in February 2022, said that it was “Time to recognise the Taliban” says he is not a “Taliban appeaser” for advocating for the UK reopening its embassy in Kabul.

He praises the group for “vastly improved” security and claims that corruption “has all but disappeared”.

But Ellwood, a former soldier, has been criticised for his stance.

Journalist Lynne O’Donnell, who has covered Afghanistan extensively, accuses Ellwood of “approving of an extremist regime controlled by terrorists that has brutally disappeared women from public view.”

Ali Maisam Nazari, the head of foreign relations for the armed anti-Taliban group, the National Resistance Front (NRF), said: “Normalization of the Taliban based on misinformation and disinformation about the dire state of affairs in Afghanistan is likely to result in negative consequences for all of us.”