Tory MP says following USA in Afghanistan is a ‘massive strategic error’
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The Prime Minister has been left scrambling to work with allies after Kabul fell to the Taliban yesterday. He is hoping to secure the safe evacuation of foreign nationals and Afghans who helped military efforts in the country.
Thousands of British nationals and locals who help the military remain in Kabul after the Taliban took control of the country.
Western forces are all desperately attempting to safely return people home, while the capital’s international airport remains secured by allied forces.
Sources say Mr Johnson has been left frantically attempting to organise international efforts.
He pushed behind the scenes for today’s urgent session of the UN security council, demanding a meeting of Nato, and using his power as G7 President to coordinate with other countries.
President Biden has been accused of going into hiding over the situation.
Apart from a statement put out any the White House on behalf of the President yesterday, Mr Biden has remained silent on the Taliban’s recapture of Afghanistan.
He is currently planning to stay put at Camp David, the President’s country retreat in Maryland, where he is holidaying.
While he has received briefings on the situation in Afghanistan, there are no plans for him to return to the White House to lead the US response.
Mr Johnson yesterday cancelled his own holiday plans to return to No10 to host a Cobra meeting on how to respond.
He blamed President Biden’s withdrawal of troops for the crisis when giving his assessment of the situation last night.
He said it was “fair to say the US decision to pull out has accelerated things”.
“I think it is very important that the West should work collectively to get over to that new government – be it by the Taliban or anybody else – that nobody wants Afghanistan once again to be a breeding ground for terror and we don’t think it is in the interests of the people of Afghanistan that it should lapse back into that pre-2001 status,” Mr Johnson continued.
“What the UK will be doing is working with our partners in the UN Security, in Nato, to get that message over.”
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Mr Johnson is hoping to talk to the US leader about how to respond to the Afghan crisis today or tomorrow, but sources say no time has yet been scheduled for the call.
The Prime Minister has already spoken to the Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg the UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
He is hoping to speak with more international allies today.
After the tumult of Trump’s presidency, Biden has repeatedly promised that “America is back”.
However, some British diplomats are questioning not only that assessment but also the implications for long-term national security following Mr Biden’s response to Afghanistan.
“Is America back or has it turned its back?” one British official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“It looks very much as if the Americans have gone home in a rather Trumpian manner – rushed, chaotic and humiliating.”
Last night Mr Biden’s National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said it was “heartbreaking” to see what was happening in Kabul but that the president “stands by” his decision to withdraw.
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