‘Abandonment of Afghanistan and its people is tragic, dangerous, unnecessary,’ former UK chief Tony Blair says.
Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, who in 2001 took Britain into conflict in Afghanistan alongside the United States, condemned the “abandonment” of the nation as “dangerous” and “unnecessary”.
In his first public feedback on the disaster because the Afghan authorities collapsed final weekend, Blair criticised the US motives for the withdrawal as “imbecilic” and “driven not by grand strategy but by politics”.
“The abandonment of Afghanistan and its people is tragic, dangerous, unnecessary, not in their interests and not in ours,” Blair wrote in a wide-ranging article revealed on his institute’s web site.
“We didn’t need to do it. We chose to do it. We did it in obedience to an imbecilic political slogan about ending ‘the forever wars’ – as if our engagement in 2021 was remotely comparable to our commitment 20 or even 10 years ago.”
The feedback will likely be broadly seen as a direct assault on US President Joe Biden, who used the “forever wars” phrase repeatedly throughout campaigning final yr.
‘Jihadist groups cheering’
Blair, a controversial determine each within the UK and overseas over his sturdy help for US-led army motion in each Afghanistan after which Iraq, argued the withdrawal left “every jihadist group round the world cheering”.
“Russia, China and Iran will see and take advantage. Anyone given commitments by Western leaders will understandably regard them as unstable currency,” he added.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who has confronted sustained criticism for being on vacation when Kabul fell, conceded late on Saturday that Moscow and Beijing would now play a much bigger position in Afghanistan.
“We’re going to have to bring in countries with a potentially moderating influence like Russia and China, however uncomfortable that is,” he informed the Sunday Telegragh.
“It will give us a group to exercise greater influence and better convey our messages to the Taliban.”
‘Atrophying American power’
One of Britain’s longest-serving leaders, in energy for a decade from 1997, Blair cast a detailed alliance with former US president George W Bush through the United States’ “global war on terror”, launched after the September 11, 2001 assaults.
His steadfast help for the more and more unpopular army interventions within the Middle East was seen as a key think about him standing down and handing energy to his successor, Gordon Brown, in 2007.
In his prolonged article, Blair insisted the West should “give tangible demonstration” that it’s not “in epoch-changing retreat” whereas decrying waning US world management.
“The absence of across-the-aisle consensus and collaboration and the deep politicisation of foreign policy and security issues is visibly atrophying American power,” he wrote.
He argued Britain had obtained “little or no consultation” from Washington over the Afghan withdrawal, and London was “at risk of relegation to the second division of global powers”.
His feedback come amid rising discontent at Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s dealing with of the disaster, together with inside his ruling Conservative get together, with criticism Britain has been far too ineffectual.
In the newest embarrassing revelations, the Sunday Times reported senior authorities officers had suggested Raab to return from a luxurious vacation in Crete, Greece, days earlier than Kabul fell, just for Johnson to inform him he might delay.