Boris to Recall Parliament as Afghanistan Withdrawal Branded Biggest Blunder ‘Since Suez’

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson poses in an armoured vehicle of the new Ranger Regiment during a visit to mark Armed Forces Week, at the Aldershot Garrison in Aldershot, south west England on June 24, 2021. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / various sources / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via …
DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will reportedly recall Parliament in order to debate the crisis in Afghanistan, which has been described as the biggest foreign policy blunder “since Suez”.

Following Taliban forces taking over many cities throughout Afghanistan and entering the capital of Kabul on Sunday morning, Boris Johnson will recall parliamentarians from their summer recess for at least one day this week to debate the situation in Afghanistan.

“The Prime Minister is expected to recall Parliament this week to discuss the situation in Afghanistan. The timing is to be confirmed with the Speaker,” a Number 10 Downing Street source told The Guardian.

The move comes as Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer demanded that Parliament be recalled, saying: “We need Parliament recalled so the government can update MPs on how it plans to work with allies to avoid a humanitarian crisis and a return to the days of Afghanistan being a base for extremists whose purpose will be to threaten our interests, values and national security.”

The disastrous withdrawal of American and British forces from the country after 20 years of occupation has seen the radical Islamist Taliban movement descend on Kabul, even as U.S. and UK forces remain within the city.

Despite billions spent on arming and training the Afghan military, ill-equipped and numerically inferior Taliban forces have run roughshod over them across the country.

The Conservative Party chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Tom Tugendhat, described the withdrawal of British forces as the “biggest single disaster of foreign policy since Suez,” in reference to the humiliating failure of British and allied forces to retake the Suez Canal in Egypt in 1956.

The Tory MP went on to admit that Britain’s foreign policy is “now entirely decided by Washington”.

Tugendhat, who served in Afghanistan, said that “the decision to withdraw is like a rug pulled from under the feet of our partners. No air support, none of the maintenance crews able to service their equipment — that was done by U.S. contractors, now gone.”

“That means battle-winning technology we had taught the Afghans to rely on is useless. Billions of dollars of assets, wasted. Instead of a sustainable peace, incrementally building, we’re seeing a rout,” he lamented.

The chair of the House of Commons Defence Committee and former government minister Tobias Ellwood concurred: “The effect of our dire decision to withdraw unfolds. MPs should be recalled to vote (and be seen to vote) on whether we abandon the Afghan people and allow a new haven for terrorism or seek to lead an international coalition. It’s a test of what Global Britain means.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has attempted to defend the United Kingdom’s role in the two-decades-long conflict, saying that Britain should be “extremely proud of what has been done in Afghanistan,” stressing the education provided to young girls — who in all likelihood will now live under the boot of an Islamist Taliban regime regardless.

Johnson also claimed that there is “no military solution” to the situation in Afghanistan, saying: “I think we’ve got to be realistic about the abilities of the UK or any power to impose a military solution, a combat solution in Afghanistan.

“What we certainly can do is work with all our partners in the region and around the world who share an interest with us in preventing Afghanistan from once again becoming a breeding ground for terror,” he suggested, although how helpful to British interests Afghanistan’s immediate neighbours (Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Communist China and Pakistan, where Osama bin Laden found a safe haven for years) could be is unclear.

During the twenty-year war in Afghanistan, 457 British soldiers lost their lives.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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