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Theresa May blasts UK ‘incomprehensible’ failure in Afghanistan

Former Prime Minister Theresa May delivering a speech on the situation in Afghanistan in the House of Commons, on August 18, 2021. (Photo by PA)

Britain’s former Prime Minister Theresa May has criticized the UK government’s “incomprehensible and worrying” failure to bring together an alternative alliance of countries “to provide the support necessary to sustain a government” in Afghanistan after the US withdrawal.

Addressing the MPs in the House of Commons on Wednesday, Boris Johnson’s predecessor said the events unfolding in the region had been a “major setback” for the British foreign policy.

“We boast about Global Britain, but where is Global Britain on the streets of Kabul?”

May was at pains to acknowledge the UK’s dependence on the US, asking the MPs, “What does it say about NATO if we are entirely dependent on a unilateral decision taken by the United States?”

Her scathing comments came on the heels of Johnson’s earlier acknowledgement in Parliament that Britain could not have stayed in Afghanistan “without American might.”

Citing previous remarks by Johnson and President Joe Biden of the US, May said the duo indicated earlier in July that “they did not think that the Taliban was ready or able to take over the control of the country.”

“Was our intelligence really so poor? Was our understanding of the Afghan government so weak? Was our knowledge of the position on the ground so inadequate? Did we really believe this, or did we just feel we had to follow the United States and hope that on a wing and a prayer it would be alright on the night?” May said, criticizing the UK footprint following the US decisions.

During her speech, May also criticized former US President Donald Trump’s “unilateral decision to do a deal with the Taliban.”

“What President Biden has done is upheld a decision that was made by President Trump,” May told the MPs.

Elsewhere in her remarks, the former Conservative prime minister of Britain said, “In recent years the West has appeared to be less willing to defend its values.”

“A successful foreign policy will be judged by our deeds not our words.”

Meanwhile, former Tory Prime Minister Iain Duncan Smith criticized Biden for blaming the collapse of Afghanistan on the army’s unwillingness to fight, saying that “the American president has no right to use excuses and base them on people who have lost their lives, and done so bravely.”

Events unfolding fast in Afghanistan are complicating the power play in US politics as various factions engage in a blame game to evade accountability.

The US military withdrawal from Afghanistan worsened the security situation in the country and, as May said, “There are many in Afghanistan who fear not just that their lives will be irrevocably changed for the worse, but who fear for their lives.”

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