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Thursday, February 15, 2024

UK PM to take into confidence lawmakers about Afghanistan

UK PM Johnson has faced stinging criticism from lawmakers for intelligence and leadership failures over the fall of Kabul.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will address lawmakers on Monday about Britain’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, amid criticism of the handling of the evacuation and failure to predict how quickly the Taliban would sweep through the country.

The United States and Britain withdrew from Afghanistan last month, and Johnson’s foreign minister Dominic Raab has admitted that both countries misjudged the Taliban’s capacity to seize control. The Taliban took Kabul on Aug. 15.

Johnson has faced stinging criticism from lawmakers for intelligence and leadership failures over the fall of Kabul, and he has admitted that the decision by the United States to withdraw left Britain with little choice but to pull its own forces.

Read more: UK expresses misgivings over US “rotten deal” to leave Afghanistan

Some who served in Afghanistan have spoken of their anger and grief about what has happened, and Johnson will say that, despite the Taliban’s rapid return, the efforts of a 20-year campaign were not in vain.

“Thanks to their efforts, no terrorist attack against this country or any of our Western allies has been launched from Afghanistan for twenty years,” Johnson will say in a speech to parliament when it returns from summer recess, according to extracts released by his office.

“They fulfilled the first duty of the British armed forces – to keep our people safe.”

Johnson’s office said that he would announce an additional 5 million pounds ($6.93 million) in funding for charities that offer support to veterans.

Failure of international community

The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan is a “failure of the international community”, Britain’s Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said on Monday, assessing that the West’s intervention was a job only half-done.

“All of us know that Afghanistan is not finished. It’s an unfinished problem for the world and the world needs to help it,” he told BBC television.

Read more: What will be America’s new strategy for Afghanistan?

The former British Army officer last week said US President Joe Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump had secured a “rotten deal” with the Islamist militants that allowed their return. He maintained the 20-year intervention by US-led forces in Afghanistan “wasn’t a waste, it wasn’t for nothing” but accused Western powers of being short-sighted in policy matters.

Reuters with additional input by GVS News Desk