Afghanistan live news: another blast reported near Kabul airport amid warnings of further attacks















US carries out military strike in Kabul

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Sullivan: Taliban will allow for safe passage after 31 August

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Reuters: Kabul explosion appears to have been a rocket attack

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The UK’s former ambassador to Afghanistan has poured scorn on suggestions that the Taliban have “changed”, but insisted that the UK would have to engage with them.

Sir Nicholas Kay, ambassador to Afghanistan from 2017 to 2019, told Times Radio he had first encountered the Taliban in early 1995, shortly after they captured Kandahar.

“I don’t think they’ve changed. You know, I think you know, one of their strengths, if you like, is their single-mindedness and their strength of conviction and their faith in what they are doing and their cause,” he added.

“What we have seen is that they are more aware of what they should be saying, and maybe that will translate into being able to actually do some of the things that they’re saying.”

But he added the UK would have to engage with the Taliban. He said: “We do need to engage with them, we don’t need to trust them, we need to test them.”

This is Ben Quinn picking up the blog for a while now while Alex takes a break.

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