UK Vows Not To Turn Back On Afghanistan Despite Embassy Pullout.

UK Vows Not To Turn Back On Afghanistan Despite Embassy Pullout

What we must do now is not turn our backs on Afghanistan, said Boris Johnson (FILE)

London:

Britain will not abandon Afghanistan, Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed on Friday, even as he confirmed the imminent withdrawal of most embassy staff in the face of a rapid Taliban onslaught.

With the Islamists seizing control of more Afghan cities, Britain is deploying around 600 troops to help evacuate its roughly 3,000 nationals from the country, and Johnson said the "vast bulk" of remaining embassy staff in Kabul would return to the UK.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said President Joe Biden's decision to withdraw US troops, forcing NATO allies to follow suit, "leaves a very big problem on the ground" and handed momentum to the Taliban.

He predicted it would benefit Al-Qaeda, who were given safe haven by the Taliban before the September 11, 2001 attacks that prompted the West's 20-year involvement in Afghanistan.

Johnson, however, said after convening crisis talks with senior cabinet colleagues that the West retained a strategic interest in backing the beleaguered Kabul government.

"I think we have got to be realistic about the power of the UK or any power to impose a military solution -- a combat solution -- in Afghanistan," he told reporters.

"What we certainly can do is work with all our partners in the region, around the world, who share an interest with us in preventing Afghanistan once again becoming a breeding ground for terror.

"What we must do now is not turn our backs on Afghanistan," he stressed, adding that Britain could be "extremely proud" of its role in the country, especially in advancing girls' education -- gains that are now imperilled by the Taliban advance.

The prime minister added that UK interior ministry officials were flying out to Kabul to help Afghan interpreters who served with the UK military to apply for resettlement in Britain.

Many of the translators have complained of British foot-dragging, and say they now fear for their lives given the risk of Taliban reprisals.

'Total betrayal'

Speaking earlier on Sky News, Wallace said Biden's predecessor Donald Trump had secured a "rotten deal" with the Taliban permitting the US to wind down its longest war, echoing UK military chiefs who have savaged the pullout.

Tom Tugendhat, the chairman of the foreign affairs select committee in the House of Commons, told the BBC: "We've just pulled the rug from under them," referring to the Afghan people.

The Conservative MP, a former reservist soldier who served in Afghanistan, added that Britain's need to send in more troops to facilitate its withdrawal was "a sure sign of failure".

Former international development minister Rory Stewart called the withdrawal "a total betrayal by the US and by the UK" that risked triggering a civil war between rival warlords currently fighting the Taliban.

Johnny Mercer, a Conservative MP and former veterans minister who also fought as an army officer in Afghanistan, called the withdrawal "a disgrace".

"I think it's humiliating for the UK military, for the families who lost individuals over there but above all it's a huge tragedy for the people of Afghanistan, who've been through so much over so many years," he told Times Radio.

"We've chosen this defeat and it's shameful."

The leader of Northern Ireland's Ulster Unionist Party, Doug Beattie, who served three tours in Afghanistan with the British Army, said ordinary Afghans would pay the price.

"We raised the expectations of the Afghan people that we would create something better for them," he told Irish state broadcaster RTE.

"And we're going to dash it by our inactivity... We have made strategic failures, and the latest one is to leave Afghanistan as quickly as we have and without a political settlement."

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV News

NDTV.com provides latest news from India and the world. Get today’s news headlines from Business, Technology, Bollywood, Cricket, videos, photos, live news coverage and exclusive breaking news from India.

https://www.ndtv.com/

Related news

Bill Gates Raises Over $1 Billion For Clean Energy

Bill Gates's nonprofit group Breakthrough Energy announced Monday that it has raised more than $1 billion from seven major companies, including ArcelorMittal and General Motors, to fund clean energy...

NDTV News

Two Injured In Shooting At US High School: Police

Two people were injured in a shooting at a high school in the US state of Virginia on Monday, officials said, providing no further details as police rushed to the scene.

NDTV News

Tammy Bruce: This is anarchy

Tammy Bruce: This is anarchy

Biden, Harris silent as situation spiraling out of control at Texas-Mexico border #FoxNews #BigSaturdayShow Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-encompassing news se...

Some Afghan Girls Return to School in Kabul

Some Afghan Girls Return to School in Kabul

Some Afghan girls returned to primary schools with segregated classes, Saturday, September 18, after the Taliban announced state and private schools at the primary and secondary levels would reopen. Most educational institutions in the capital, Ka...

First-ever civilian SpaceX flight returns from orbit.

First-ever civilian SpaceX flight returns from orbit.

Four people returned to Earth from a three-day extraterrestrial excursion aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, marking the end of the first-ever flight to Earth's orbit flown entirely by tourists or otherwise non-astronauts. #CNN #News

Southern Border Crisis Apparent in Del Rio, Texas

Southern Border Crisis Apparent in Del Rio, Texas

There are nearly 15,000 men, women, and children mostly from Haiti seeking refuge under a border bridge in Del Rio, Texas. The Department of Homeland Security has announced 400 Border Patrol agents are going there to help with processing. Deportat...

Space Capsule To Splashdown In Ocean

Space Capsule To Splashdown In Ocean

The first all-civilian space crew to orbit the earth wrapped up their three-day, history-making mission on Saturday. They splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean, the first to do so in 50 years.» Subscribe to NBC News: » Watch more NBC video: NBC News...

Cutting Through Booster Shot Confusion

Cutting Through Booster Shot Confusion

NBC News’ Jose Diaz-Balart asks a panel of top experts about the pressing questions surrounding the new FDA panel recommendations that only those 65 and older or at high risk get the Covid vaccine booster shot.» Subscribe to NBC News: » Watch more...

1 5