Tony Blair slammed for 'narcisistic' Afghanistan slapdown
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Joe Biden has made imbecilic decisions about Afghanistan according to 86 percent of Express readers who voted in a poll of 5,550 people between 9am August 21 and 12pm August 25. The President has faced a tidal wave of criticism since Afghanistan fell to the Taliban on August 15, after US military presence retreated.
In an opinion article by Tony Blair, he wrote: “The world is now uncertain of where the West stands because it is so obvious that the decision to withdraw from Afghanistan in this way was driven not by grand strategy but by politics.
“We didn’t need to do it. We chose to do it. We did it in obedience to an imbecilic political slogan about ending ‘the forever wars’.”
An Express reader said: “It’s strange to think that despite hatred towards Blair he seems to have a better grasp on the issue than Biden.”
When asked for the White House’s response to Mr Blair’s comments, political advisor Jen Psaki rebuffed his credibility by insisting that the President is in touch with the “current” Prime Minister.
She stated: “The President has been in touch directly with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is the current leader of the UK, and has been clear with his G7 partners about what his objectives are, his commitment to the mission, the progress we are making, and the factors that he has considered.
“That is something he’s in touch with current leaders about.
“We also understand that allies and partners of ours, and adversaries for different reasons, have advocated for the United States and our men and women in the military staying longer.
“But as the President of the United States and the Commander in Chief of this country, he has to factor in their security, their safety, and that is his responsibility.”
In his first six years in office, Mr Blair ordered British troops into combat five times, more than any other prime minister in British history, including Iraq in both 1998 and 2003, Kosovo (1999), Sierra Leone (2000) and Afghanistan (2001).
When the 9/11 terror attacks occurred, killing 2,996 people, Mr Blair joined President George Bush’s War on Terror in 2001, since then, 457 British military personnel have died in Afghanistan.
The British military invasions of the Middle East attracted widespread public opposition and 139 of Mr Blair’s own Labour MPs opposed it.
Many Britons still begrudge Mr Blair for his decision.
One reader said: “Tony Blair and Iraq: A siren voice that must be ignored, from a bloke with a dreadful track record.”
Another commented: “Keep your nose out Blair you caused more than enough trouble, the legacy of which will haunt us for decades to come.”
However, Mr Blair’s anger at the US President is echoed by humanitarian workers and military families who have dedicated decades of their lives to establishing human rights in Afghanistan.
Dr Andrew Kidd OBE, who managed the UKAid programme in Afghanistan for three years, told the Express: “The latest abandonment doubles down on the US’s problematic engagement over the last 20 years in Afghanistan. It didn’t have to be this way. Afghans, rightly, feel shunned and deserted.”
One mother, whose son was among the 2,300 Americans killed in Afghanistan, said his efforts were ‘in vain’ and that leaving the country was a “violent retreat”.
Another mother of a war veteran told the Mail: “I’ve cried tears since yesterday because it just hurts to see all of that time, effort, lives, going down the tubes.
“It’s hard to believe that all who fought so hard, who died, who will never be the same because of mental illness or loss of facilities was all in vain.”
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When Mr Biden came to power at the end of January 2021, ex-President Donald Trump had already agreed with the Taliban to withdraw American soldiers from Afghanistan, and troops had already diminished from 15,500 to 2,500.
Mr Biden explained in a national broadcast, that he faced the choice of either continuing with the agreed plan, or sending thousands of American soldiers back to Afghanistan to escalate violence with a Taliban army that was at its strongest since 2001.
The President said: “Afghanistan political leaders gave up and fled the country.
“The Afghan military collapsed, sometimes without trying to fight.
“American troops cannot and should not be fighting in a war, and dying in a war, that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves.
“We spent over a trillion dollars. We trained and equipped an Afghan military force of some 300,000 strong.
“We gave them every tool they could need. We paid their salaries, provided for the maintenance of their air force.
“We gave them every chance to determine their own future, what we could not provide them was the will to fight for that future.”
US and UK politicians have been alarmed by Mr Biden’s decision to place the blame on Afghan forces who “didn’t fight hard enough”.
Tom Tugendhat, Chairman of the UK Foreign Affairs Select Committee, said he was “extremely angry” at Mr Biden’s criticism of Afghan soldiers, calling those troops “incredibly brave” and saying the US withdrew “like a thief in the night” with no proper handover.
Mitch McConnell, the most senior Republican in Congress, said: “I think Afghanistan is lost. Every terrorist around the world is cheering in Syria, in Yemen, in Africa. They’ve watched the Taliban … defeat America in effect.”
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