According to British sources, the UK is desperate to avoid Afghanistan becoming a base for international terrorism, one of the topics under discussion in the meetings. While the local Islamic State affiliate, ISKP, claimed responsibility for a terror attack that killed nearly 200 people at the airport on Thursday, the group is hostile to the Taliban. It cannot strike abroad.
However, British security agencies are concerned that the Taliban could allow jihadist groups to set up training camps similar to those run by al-Qaida before September 11.
One of the UK’s most senior intelligence chiefs has held talks with Taliban leaders to negotiate safe passage out of Afghanistan for British nationals and Afghans who worked with UK forces and seek assurance that the country will not become a base for international terrorists.
Britain’s foreign intelligence service MI6 has also been active during the crisis, with Pakistani media reporting that Sir Richard Moore, the agency’s head, met Pakistan’s chief of army staff, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, last week to discuss intelligence and defense collaboration after the withdrawal from Afghanistan.