Will the Taliban attend COP26?

Will the Taliban attend COP26?
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'Jaw-jaw is better than war war' according to Churchill. And with the failure of last night's G7 summit, diplomacy is the only option left to the West as its leaders come to terms with the Taliban's triumph. Downing Street has denied reports that sanctions will be imposed on the new regime, with the billions of pounds in frozen Afghan assets overseas intended to be used as leverage.

And so Ed Davey's much-mocked proposal of 'tea with the Taliban' has now become de-facto government policy as Britain desperately negotiates to evacuate refugees. Steerpike wonders what exciting role the militant Islamists will play in the wider international community. One such outlet for its energies could be the United Nations, with the former American ambassador there John Bolton this week warning that the Taliban are now poised to seat a representative on the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

Elsewhere, attention has shifted to focus on the main diplomatic jamboree of the cocktails and canapés circuit: COP26. The forthcoming eco-shindig is due to be held in Glasgow in nine weeks time and is already being billed as the world's 'last chance' to tackle climate change by American envoy John Kerry, purveyor of private jets and doomed presidential bids. 

Already there has been speculation in the Swedish media as to what role, if any, the Taliban will play in doing its bad to tackle climate change. An analysis piece by STV journalist Erika Bjerström asked the question everyone in Kabul wants answered now, writing: ‘It is not known what the new Taliban regime thinks about the issue of climate change or food production, nor is it known whether they are thinking of coming to COP26 in Glasgow.’

While No. 10 may be fully signed up to the green agenda, Mr S suspects the climate summit may be lower down the Taliban’s priority list…

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

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