Rory Stewart: UK's Afghanistan withdrawal 'biggest betrayal since WWII'

16 August 2021, 19:37

By Seán Hickey

A 'reckless' withdrawal by NATO allies led to the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan, the former cabinet minister claims.

The Taliban took control of the Afghan capital Kabul over the weekend which effectively gave them power in the Middle Eastern nation, a little over a fortnight since NATO troops began a withdrawal after 20 years on the ground.

Read More: Afghanistan live: Desperate crowds cling to US aircraft at Kabul in bid to flee Taliban

Former Tory MP Rory Stewart spoke to Eddie Mair in the wake of the chaos. "Biden and to some extent Boris Johnson's government blinded themselves and were far too optimistic," he claimed.

Read More: 'Some people won't get back' Defence Secretary chokes up over Afghanistan

Mr Stewart said that NATO "didn't realise that our support, although small, was like a small keystone in an arch – when it's taken away the whole thing fell down."

Read More: 'He gave his life for Queen and country': Mother's moving tribute to son

Eddie spoke of how many commentators have described the Taliban resurgence as a disaster and wondered how Mr Stewart saw it.

"This is the biggest betrayal of British foreign policy since the Second World War. This is just unforgiveable and totally extraordinary," he admitted.

The former International Development Secretary reiterated that he is "extremely angry at Biden because in the end he's followed a policy of Trump's.

Read More: David Lammy: 'This ruthless interpretation of Islam will eliminate women's rights'

This is Trump's isolationism, this is a reckless withdrawal and he seem to have put no thought into a proper transition."

He went on to argue that "Britain and other NATO partners could have taken up that slack" but chose to follow the US in withdrawing.

"It's very very sad for Britain because it suggests that we've lost the capacity to really think independently of the US," he concluded.

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