Boris Johnson discusses situation in Afghanistan
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Former senior military and security figures have condemned the Prime Minister over his handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan. Many have criticised Boris Johnson for the hasty withdrawal of troops enabling the Taliban to quickly swoop in and fill the power void. Others have blasted him after it emerged he left to go on holiday over the weekend despite the desperate situation that was unfolding in Afghanistan.
Mr Johnson travelled to Somerset on Saturday, despite warnings the Taliban would be in Kabul within hours.
Lord Ricketts, the former chair of the Joint Intelligence Committee has been one of the PM’s fiercest critics over his recent attitude towards the Afghan crisis.
He told The Guardian the PM’s decision to go on holiday was “one more piece of evidence that Whitehall as a whole failed to anticipate either the scale or the speed of the collapse of the Afghan regime and the implications for British interest”.
Major Gen Charlie Herbert, who went on three tours of duty in Afghanistan told The Guardian: “It is almost impossible to believe that the prime minister departed on holiday on Saturday; he should hang his head in shame.
“It is dereliction of duty on an extraordinary scale. He is overseeing one of the greatest military humiliations in the recent history of this country.”
The Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, followed the PM’s move and took the opportunity to go on his summer holiday, holidaying in Cyprus until Sunday.
Major Gen Herbert told the BBC: “I hear the foreign secretary was on holiday until yesterday, you can understand why us veterans as a community are livid about this.”
Many veterans have accused the government of betraying Afghans who helped British and US troops.
What do you think? Could the PM have handled the Afghan crisis better? Have your say in Express.co.uk’s poll and in the comments below.
An open letter was sent by 46 senior retired military officials to Government three weeks ago which laid out their concerns that interpreters and others who helped British troops weren’t being evacuated fast enough.
Major Gen Herbert said: “That they failed to heed the warning is symptomatic of the disastrous complacency that has led to this national humiliation. Interpreters will die as a result of their apathy.”
Yesterday the Defence Secretary, and former army Captain, Ben Wallace choked up on air in an interview with LBC when discussing the UK’s scramble to evacuate remaining UK nationals and their local allies from Afghanistan, saying: “Some people won’t get back”.
He added the UK needed to bring back “all those people we have an obligation to.”
Parliament has been recalled from its summer recess in reaction to the crisis and will debate the Taliban take over from Wednesday.
The PM has since returned from his holiday and chaired his second Cobra meeting about the situation in Afghanistan.
He has also spoken to Nato’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, and the UN secretary general, António Guterres, about the Afghan crisis.
A No 10 spokesperson said the PM “has been monitoring the situation in Afghanistan throughout.”
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