UK in talks with Taliban for evacuations as it launches Operation Warm Welcome

London: The UK government is in discussions with the Taliban to secure safe passage for remaining British nationals and eligible Afghan evacuees and has launched "Operation Warm Welcome" for refugees from Afghanistan, Downing Street said on Wednesday.

The talks, involving UK officials and "senior" Taliban members, are said to be taking place in Doha, Qatar, and additionally, Britain is also sending 15 "crisis response specialists" to neighbouring Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to assist British diplomats in their work to allow people to reach the UK via third countries.

The focus is on helping UK nationals, interpreters and other Afghans who were employed by the UK.

"The Prime Minister's special representative for Afghan transition, Simon Gass, has travelled to Doha and is meeting with senior Taliban representatives to underline the importance of safe passage out of Afghanistan for British nationals, and those Afghans who have worked with us over the past 20 years," a Downing Street spokesperson said.

The move follows the exit of NATO troops from the region to meet the August 31 deadline, but the Taliban have agreed to allow further evacuations.

Meanwhile, Downing Street said that a significant cross-government effort is underway as Operation Warm Welcome , to ensure Afghans arriving in the UK receive the vital support they need to rebuild their lives, find work, pursue education and integrate into their local communities.

Under the plan, those coming to the UK through resettlement routes would receive immediate indefinite leave to remain (ILR).

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