Analysis: The G7 agree to ask the Taliban to be nice amid Afghanistan crisis

The G7 have held an emergency meeting to address the crisis in Afghanistan shortly after creating the conditions for it to happen.

The Prime Minister hosted a virtual summit to discuss the situation with US president Joe Biden and the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan.

Top of Boris Johnson’s agenda was the need to extend the August 31 withdrawal deadline, an issue so important a White House readout before the meeting didn’t even mention it.

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In a race against time to get everyone out before a US self-inflicted deadline, Mr Johnson was hoping to convince Mr Biden to extend the deadline to help more people escape those now in charge.

US President Joe Biden decided against an extension.
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This was not a request unique to Britain, with Germany, France and Italy also wanting more time.

However, the Taliban have claimed the August 31 deadline was a “red line” and warned it would “provoke a reaction".

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Mr Biden had to decide between cleaning up the mess he made and increasing the number of Afghans who survive, or doing nothing due to threats from a militant group claiming to have changed.

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G7: US will not keep troops in Afghanistan past August 31
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The president, a man many hoped would put an end to the “America First” approach of the last administration, instead bottled it. There will be no extra time. It’s now or never, it’s life and death.

Now these countries, the most powerful economies in the world, have been reduced to “insisting” safe passage is allowed after the deadline.

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Instead of demanding it, with the military and economic might of seven nations, they will instead seek to pressure an armed mob who make women sex slaves and kill dissidents.

The Prime Minister has, to his credit, vowed to “go on right up until the last moment we can”.

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Unfortunately this is a race that did not need running.

Mr Johnson explained the G7 had now set up a “road map for future engagement with the Taliban”, which would involve working together.

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This would involve unfreezing funds for the government, with conditions including not becoming a breeding ground for terror and ensuring girls are educated until they are 18.

These are, of course, things we could previously guarantee. Now the might of the G7 is simply asking.

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