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Britain Urges Against Recognizing Taliban As Countries Call For UN Security Council Meeting


British soldiers disembark after landing in Kabul to assist in evacuating British nationals and entitled persons on August 15.

Nobody should bilaterally recognize the Taliban as the government of Afghanistan, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said, and it's clear that there will be a new administration in the country very shortly.

"We don't want anybody bilaterally recognizing the Taliban," Johnson said in an interview clip. "We want a united position amongst all the like-minded as far as we can get one."

Johnson on August 15 recalled Parliament from its summer break to discuss the situation on Afghanistan.

London is deploying around 600 troops to help evacuate its roughly 3,000 nationals from the country, and Johnson said the "vast bulk" of remaining embassy staff in Kabul would return to the Britain.

Johnson vowed on August 13 that Britain will not "turn our backs" on Afghanistan, even as he confirmed the imminent withdrawal of most embassy staff in the face of a rapid Taliban onslaught.

NATO, which this summer completed military operations in Afghanistan and withdrew most troops from the country after two decades, said it was maintaining its diplomatic presence in Kabul and helping to keep the city's airport running.

"NATO is helping keep Kabul airport open to facilitate and coordinate evacuations," NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Twitter.

Stoltenberg said he had discussed the rapidly evolving situation in Afghanistan with Johnson and the foreign ministers of Canada, Denmark, and the Netherlands.

A NATO official told Reuters the alliance was maintaining its diplomatic presence in Kabul.

"NATO is constantly assessing developments in Afghanistan," the official said, adding that the security of the alliance's personnel was paramount and NATO would continue to adjust as necessary.

Earlier on August 15, Secretary of State Antony Blinken rejected comparisons between the U.S. departure from Kabul and the chaotic exit after the Vietnam War, as the Taliban surrounded the Afghan capital.

"This is not Saigon," Blinken told ABC TV. "The fact of the matter is this: We went to Afghanistan 20 years ago with one mission in mind. That was to deal with the people that attacked us on 9/11. That mission has been successful."

Estonia and Norway requested the 15-member United Nations Security Council meet on Afghanistan as soon as possible, diplomats said on August 15.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Ministry official Zamir Kabulov said on August 15 that Moscow was "working" with others to schedule an emergency meeting.

Russia is one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council, along with the United States, Britain, France, and China.

With reporting by AP, Reuters, and AFP
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