By Kieran Burt
Government opposition figures have been quick to blame the Foreign Secretary for the crisis in Afghanistan. Instead, they should be pointing the finger at Biden.
The handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan has been nothing short of a disaster. The Government that the West had installed collapsed mere days after Joe Biden pulled out US troops and caused scenes of utter horror coming from Kabul Airport. A particularly chilling moment was the people falling to their deaths, after desperately clinging onto a C-17.
Though, opposition parties in the UK seem to have got it into their heads that this is somehow Dominic Raab’s fault. By calling for his resignation, they are effectively arguing that he has culpability for the disaster, which is simply not true. Raab and his office have done nothing but work tirelessly throughout the entire crisis.
However, those on the Left think that because Dominic Raab and several permanent secretaries were on holiday before Kabul fell, they are responsible. This is simply untrue. Dominic Raab is allowed to go on holiday, especially after the past year. In regard to not taking a phone call from the former Foreign Ministry in Afghanistan, this wasn’t going to achieve a lot, if anything at all. This is because at that point, the Government in Afghanistan had lost all of its power. There was nothing anyone could do for them unless they were personally in Afghanistan.
Another critique comes with how our withdrawal happened, despite knowledge that the collapse of Kabul would occur. Unfortunately, this decision had nothing to do with UK. Former US President Donald Trump unilaterally signed a flawed deal with the Taliban to pull troops out, and Joe Biden followed it to completion. The idea that the UK had any say in this is false. While the UK obviously had its part to play in Afghanistan, our forces could not maintain its security when the Americans left. This withdrawal is wholly an American failure. The idea that a British politician should bear the blame for any of this is mad.
The UK, on the other hand, has done a marvellous job at getting nationals and Afghan refugees out. A total of eight hundred troops have been sent to get people out. Our ambassador to Afghanistan, Sir Laurie Bristow, is remarkably brave for being one of the few ambassadors staying in the country despite the deteriorating situation. He has personally been involved in efforts to get as many people out as possible, and presently, the UK has successfully evacuated nearly six thousand people since 13 August. Everyone involved should be proud of their service and bravery.
The Government has promised twenty thousand Afghans the ability to claim asylum in the UK, with five thousand in its first year. This is much more than our European friends are doing. Greece has erected a wall alongside its Turkish border, and France is unsure about accepting refugees, with Macron saying that France “must protect itself from a wave of migrants”.
However, despite this remarkable effort, opposition parties are content with playing party-politics with the crisis. Not only with calling for the resignation of Raab, but in their criticism since. They have called for urgent action to be taken of the crisis and have highlighted the need for Britain to help those who are struggling to get to the Western controlled Hamid Karzai Airport and Baron Hotel. This criticism, however, is unhelpful. Firstly, it implies that urgent action hasn’t been taken (which is completely false), and that our troops are in more control of areas than they actually are. The reports of the Taliban beating people at checkpoints is awful and disgusting, but the notion that the UK can stop this is ludicrous. The Taliban are now in control of the country.
There are several people, however, that should consider resignation or be sacked over this disaster. The first is President Biden. For months, intelligence agencies were warning him that the Afghan security forces simply weren’t prepared for a Taliban assault. This is laid bare now. But he has recklessly persevered with this withdrawal, threatening lives, and our security in the process. In the age where expert opinion is played like a drumbeat, ignoring expert military intelligence is unforgivable. Dominic Raab’s counterpart, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken should also consider resigning over this. Two others that should consider going are Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. Both wilfully ignored their own intelligence for Biden’s political goals.
The fall of Kabul was not something that should have shocked anyone, and yet it seems it has.
Image credit: UK Prime Minister