British lawmakers vented their anger on Wednesday at Prime Minister Boris Johnson and U.S. President Joe Biden over the collapse of Afghanistan back into Taliban hands, calling it a failure of intelligence, leadership and moral duty.
Barely a minute into his opening address, Johnson faced a critical interruption from a member of his own Conservative Party, setting the tone for what would be a skeptically-received speech about how Britain wanted to be at the heart of an international coalition holding the Taliban to account.
British Labour Leader Keir Starmer said that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s judgement on Afghanistan had been “appalling” while former prime minister Theresa May, a Conservative Party colleague of Johnson, asked how Britain could have so miscalculated the strength of the Taliban, which took Kabul on Sunday in a lightning offensive.
The speed of the Taliban’s gains after U.S.-led forces withdrew the bulk of their troops from Afghanistan surprised the West, leaving many nations having to scramble to get their diplomats and Afghans who had helped them out of the country.
Several lawmakers on Wednesday focused on the U.S. decision to withdraw – a move which Johnson admitted left Britain with no choice but to pull out its own forces – and Biden’s subsequent criticism of Afghan forces’ surrendering to the Taliban.
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