Boris in July: ‘There Is No Military Path to Victory for the Taliban’

Boris
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Prime Minister Johnson claimed as recently as last month that “there is no military path to victory for the Taliban” in Afghanistan.

Prime Minister Johnson, who has previously compared himself and U.S. President Joe Biden to Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt, had strongly backed the Biden-led withdrawal, and like the Democrat leader had asserted that a quick Taliban victory was unlikely.

“I would just say to the Taliban that they have made the commitment that I read out to the House, in their negotiations with General Khalilzad. They must abide by that commitment. I am sure they will be aware that there is no military path to victory for the Taliban,” Johnson declared in the House of Commons as recently as July 8th.

“There must be a peaceful and a negotiated settlement for the political crisis in Afghanistan, and the UK will continue to work to ensure that that takes place. I believe that can happen — I do not believe that the Taliban are guaranteed the kind of victory that we sometimes read about,” he said, wholly inaccurately.

The British prime minister repeated similar claims several more times in Parliament, telling Conservative backbencher Tom Tugendhat that “we are keeping our embassy in Kabul” — now largely abandoned in favour of a base of operations at the airport outside the city, reports suggest — and that “We will continue to work with our friends and allies, and particularly with the government of Pakistan, to try to bring a settlement and to try to ensure that the Taliban understand that there can be no military path to victory.”

Johnson also told former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn: “I do not think that the Taliban are capable of victory by military means, a point I have made several times.”

Now poised to formally accept a transfer of power from the Western-backed regime while Western forces have not yet even completed their withdrawal from the country, the Taliban does in fact appear to be coming out of its 20-year war with the West stronger than in 2001, when the conflict began.

Previously, the Islamist regime did not control the north-east of the country, where the warlords of the so-called Northern Alliance held sway over a population that included many ethnic Tajiks, Uzbeks, and Hazaras.

These warlords, who supported Western forces in 2001, have now fallen to the Taliban quite as rapidly as the official government, giving the Islamist group control of the country’s entire border — including the short but important border with Xinjiang in China — for the first time.

The Johnson administration’s focus is now evacuating British citizens still in Afghanistan — besides, presumably, those who are there fighting alongside the Taliban — to Britain, along with thousands of Afghans who co-operated with the British and their families.

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