UK's campaign in Afghanistan 'fundamentally wrong,' Blair's Defence Sec. admits

31 August 2021, 18:25

By Seán Hickey

Nation building efforts in Afghanistan were 'a disaster' according to the Defence Secretary who stood over the initial invasion.

As the final US troops leave the ground in Afghanistan, former Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon spoke to Eddie Mair to reflect on 20 years of British efforts in the country.

"History repeating itself: is that something you could countenance?" Eddie asked.

Mr Hoon, who was Defence Secretary when the UK initially moved into Afghanistan told LBC that "the idea that we go back to square one and begin again would be a very difficult ask."

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"No one wants to see history repeating itself."

Eddie wondered how the former Defence Secretary felt about the current situation: "How do you reflect now, not just on the invasion but on the attempted nation building that went on afterwards?"

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"Sometimes we forget the overwhelming demand there was around the world to do something about 9/11," he began, before admitting "I have to accept that the nation building has not been a success, in fact it's been a disaster."

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"After 20 years and enormous amounts of American money the afghan army and the afghan resistance faded after, really a matter of days does demonstrate that something was fundamentally wrong with that effort."

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When quizzed on the the US President's approach to the crisis, Mr Hoon said that "Joe Biden has been given a hospital pass by his predecessor."

"I regret the manner in which the withdrawal was undertaken but at the same time I kind of understand why Joe Biden felt that he had no alternative."