How did that work out for them, then?
For those who haven’t been following the news too closely, the UK government run by Boris Johnson knew it was on a deadline to move troops out of Afghanistan after then-US President Donald Trump signed the Doha Agreement with the Taliban in February 2020.
That was 18 months ago, but Johnson did nothing at all until July this year. We have only his word that any preparation was carried out at all – and we all know what Johnson’s word is worth: nothing.
According to the Doha Agreement, US troops had until May 1, 2021 to pull out of Afghanistan entirely. Incoming US President Joe Biden unilaterally pushed back the deadline to August 31 – presumably in the arrogant belief that the Taliban would let the World’s strongest country do whatever it wanted.
Well, that didn’t happen!
The Taliban started a widescale offensive on the day of the deadline and was faced with very little resistance indeed from a poorly-trained and corrupt Afghan National Army. They practically walked into Kabul on August 15.
That was more than two weeks ago. News reports have shown that the UK’s own withdrawal of troops has been unplanned, unprofessional and chaotic, despite the fact that Boris Johnson had been given a year and a half’s notice to leave.
Now, with the evacuation over, more than a thousand people (possibly many thousands of people) have been left behind, at the mercy of the Taliban; confidential documents including information identifying Afghan citizens who were employed by the UK government were left in the former UK Embassy for the Taliban to find and use; and Johnson’s government has been found to have issued a tissue of lies about what it has been doing.
Why did he make such a mess of it?
Here’s the apparently-prevailing view:
Johnson had well over a year’s notice to start bringing people out of Afghanistan. He didn’t act because the optics would not sit well with the far right, the anti-immigration bigots and the racists on whose votes the Tory Party depends.
— Helen the Zen 🏴 💙 (@helenmallam) August 28, 2021
The government has tried to put a veneer of respectability on its potentially fatal incompetence, but we’re having none of it – as this exchange shows:
You'd literally had months to start this and made a pigs ear of rushing it all at the last minute, compounded by picking a fight with Pen Farthing.
Resign you incompetent fool. https://t.co/APlIeSkgR9
— Damien Willey (@Cornish_Damo) August 29, 2021
Johnson himself seems to have used Afghanistan as a prop with which to avoid facing his domestic failures:
The most attention Boris Johnson paid to Afghanistan is when he flew there to avoid a vote on the Heathrow third runway, which tells you all you need to know about the man.
A litancy of incompetence, complete lack of planning & totally inept leadership is Boris Johnson's style.
— Angela Rayner (@AngelaRayner) August 29, 2021
Oh, and did you spot the reference to Pen Farthing, the former Marine who founded an animal rescue charity?
It turns out that the dispute between him and Defence Secretary Ben Wallace wasn’t resolved by Wallace putting him and nearly 200 dogs on a plane out of Afghanistan; it was not a military plane at all. So it seems the government took credit for something it didn’t do…
Wasn't the plane that pen farthing got on a privately funded plane that also took people out of kabul? Not a military plane at all as Anne diamond said? And is the reason he's landing at Heathrow not Brize Norton? Get your facts right Anne
— dean hobson (@Blakeybusman) August 29, 2021
… or, if you prefer, falsely blamed Farthing for its own failure to get everyone out:
UK's Ministry of Defence informing all main stream media how one ex-marine & his animals is the reason they left more than 1,000 British nationals behind in Kabul, apparently he used all their resources. And the British press going with it- instead of holding the Govt to account.
— Jane Samuels (@Jane_Samuels) August 28, 2021
The facts of the Afghanistan evacuation grow worse, the more we know.
And I’m willing to bet we’ve only learned about a fraction of the cock-ups that Johnson has caused – because Johnson can’t be bothered with details and couldn’t care less about Afghanistan anyway.
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