Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs of the United Kingdom Dominic Raab on Friday said beyond the matter of recognizing the Taliban government in Afghanistan, his country would continue to extend humanitarian assistance to its people. Addressing a joint press conference along with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the British State Secretary said whether the UK recognized the Taliban government or not, it would like to have a ‘line of communication through aid agencies to help the people of Afghanistan’. Raab mentioned that some of the Taliban were ‘positive at the level of words’, however stressed that ‘we need to test them first’. He said Britain would increase development funds for the neighbouring countries of Afghanistan to ensure helping out the Afghan people, crossing over the borders. To a question on keeping Pakistan in the ‘red list’ banning travel, he said he could totally understand the impact of the decision on the Pakistani and British-Pakistani nationals. He commended the efforts of the government of Pakistan in addressing the coronavirus situation, however stressed that the UK’s decision was ‘in shared interest amid domestic and global challenges’. Raab said his discussions with FM Qureshi focused on commonalities of interest and finding out the ways to further strengthen ties in diverse areas. To a question on the human rights violations in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, he said the UK would encourage both Pakistan and India to maintain a positive and constructive dialogue to resolve the issue. Foreign Minister Qureshi said Pakistan and the UK enjoyed close collaboration in various areas of bilateral interest. To a question if Pakistan’s relations with the Taliban would be conditional, he said as a neighbour, the country had no other choice but to coexist with Afghanistan. “So our approach has to be somewhat different and realistic [towards a government in Afghanistan],” he said. Qureshi said whatever the conclusion of Doha talks would be, Pakistan had ‘no favourites’ in Afghanistan. He said Afghanistan had the population, comprising different ethnicities, adding that it was in the interest of the country to adopt an inclusive approach. “We will engage with a government in Afghanistan that has the backing of its people. We want to help the people of Afghanistan,” he said. He said if Afghanistan was left unattended, the country could fall victim to civil war. Later, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab called on Prime Minister Imran Khan and exchanged views on the latest developments in Afghanistan as well as bilateral matters and regional and international issues. Recalling his telephonic conversation with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the prime minister shared Pakistan’s perspective on the evolving situation in Afghanistan. He underlined the importance of a peaceful, secure and stable Afghanistan for Pakistan and regional stability. The prime minister noted that it was critical to stabilize the security situation in Afghanistan, take steps to consolidate peace, and preclude any mass exodus. In this context, preventing humanitarian crisis and stabilizing the economy were the urgent needs, he added.