UK pullout from Afghanistan slammed as a disaster

KABUL (Pajhwok): The British forces’ pullout from Afghanistan was a disaster and a betrayal of partners, a parliamentary report said on Tuesday.

There had been systemic failures of intelligence, diplomacy and planning, the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee claimed.

The MPs believed mismanagement of last year’s evacuation likely cost lives, the lawmakers were quoted as saying by the BBC.

But spokesperson for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office insisted “intensive planning” had gone into the pullout from Afghanistan.

The legislators who conducted the inquiry said they had lost confidence in the department’s top diplomat Sir Philip Barton.

The cross-party committee said: “The fact that the Foreign Office’s senior leaders were on holiday when Kabul fell marks a fundamental lack of seriousness, grip or leadership at a time of national emergency.”

The report exposes the scale of the government’s incompetence, laziness and mishandling of the withdrawal, alleged Labour’s shadow foreign secretary David Lammy.

The UK ended its combat mission in Afghanistan in 2014, but hundreds of troops stayed in to help train the Afghan army.

The chaotic withdrawal would damage the UK’s interests for years to come, warned the report.

As part of the evacuation effort, 15,000 people were flown out of Kabul over a 13-day period in August 2021.

“In broader terms the evacuation — once it began — the evacuation process suffered from serious and avoidable failings.”

Tom Tugendhat, the Conservative chair of the committee, claimed the report highlighted “serious systemic failures at the heart of the UK’s foreign policy.”

PAN Monitor/mud

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