'We will hold you to account': Dominic Raab threatens Taliban over Afghanistan human rights

ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen reports on how the UK government has reacted to the situation in Afghanistan as Taliban gains control

The UK has warned the Taliban it will be held to account if it does not protect human rights in Afghanistan after overthrowing the country's government.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, speaking to broadcasters following an emergency Cobra meeting held to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, said the UK has used its G7 presidency to "make very clear to the Taliban that we will hold them to account".

Asked how that would be possible, given the UK military has withdrawn from the country, Mr Raab said it would be achieved through "working with our partners, through everything from the sanctions that we can apply to the ODA (official development assistance) that we will hold back pending reform".

He said there are "levers" the UK can pull to influence the Taliban to stick with a "series of commitments, a series of undertakings" made on human rights "and I think it's right for the UK, but also critically working with our partners, that they are held to the undertakings that they've made".

ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen explains how the government is aiming to create a Afghan refugee policy similar to the Syrian policy

The United Nations Security Council also held an emergency meeting on Monday afternoon to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the 15-member Council to "use all tools at its disposal" to prevent Afghanistan becoming home to global terror groups.

He also urged the group, which includes the UK and US, to stop human rights atrocities in the country and be willing to receive Afghan refugees.

Mr Guterres said: “We are receiving chilling reports of severe restrictions on human rights throughout the country."

"I am particularly concerned by accounts of mounting human rights violations against the women and girls of Afghanistan."

Afghanistan's representative at the Council meeting echoed this concern, saying: "Millions of Afghan girls and women are about to lose their freedom to go to school, to work, to participate in the political, and social life of the country."

The two emergency meetings come as the Ministry of Defence said a further 200 UK troops will be sent to Kabul to assist with the evacuation effort.

Mr Raab said that whether sanctions were sought against Afghanistan would "depend on the behaviour of the Taliban".

"As I said, we'll use every means at our disposal.

"We need to work with our partners, we need to broaden the caucus of countries that are willing to exercise positive influence, to rein in the worst excesses we saw in the past of the Taliban, and we need to consolidate and try and stabilise the gains - which are considerable - that we've made with so much blood, sweat, tears and loss of life, over 20 years, and that's what we're committed to doing.

The foreign secretary also admitted the speed of the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan came as a surprise to the government.

After being read comments made by Boris Johnson earlier this year, saying a military takeover of the country would not be possible for the Islamist group, Mr Raab said: "Everyone, I think, has been surprised by the scale and the pace at which the Taliban have taken over in Afghanistan, and that's a lesson that we've all got to learn from.

"But the truth is what matters right now is focusing on getting British nationals out, getting out those who have so loyally served the UK, and making sure that the gains that we've made over 20 years are not lost."

He said the evacuation effort would see 150 more British nationals returning overnight , following the 289 Afghan nationals who had worked for the British government who arrived last week.

And 350 more British nationals and Afghans will arrive in the UK in the days to come.

Some 300 British nationals and embassy staff arrived in the UK on Sunday evening as a group of 600 military personnel scrambled to get as many as possible as quickly as possible out of Kabul, amid the Taliban's takeover of the Afghan capital and its airport.

Asked how many refugees the UK planned to accept from Afghanistan, the foreign secretary was unable to provide a number.

"We're working very carefully. We are obviously a big-hearted nation, we've got the criteria for asylum, that's set in law, we work with the UN on that. We're working very carefully on what kind of further commitment we might make."

Asked whether he could give a ballpark figure, he said: "Not at this point."