Theresa May condemns UK failure to form alternative alliance after US exit from Afghanistan

Theresa May has criticised the government’s “incomprehensible” failure to bring together an alternative alliance to prevent the collapse of the Afghanistan administration after the US withdrawal.

In scathing comments, Boris Johnson’s predecessor at No 10 said the events unfolding in the region had been a “major setback” for British foreign policy, adding: “We boast about Global Britain, but where is Global Britain on the streets of Kabul?”

“What does it say about NATO if we are entirely dependent on a unilateral decision taken by the United States?” she asked MPs on Wednesday.

“I do find it incomprehensible and worrying that the United Kingdom was not able to bring together not a military solution but an alternative alliance with countries to continue to provide the support necessary to sustain a government in Afghanistan.”

Citing previous remarks from the prime minister and US president Joe Biden on the possibility of the Taliban seizing power, Ms May told the Commons: “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?”

The former Conservative prime minister added: “The reality is that as long as this time limit was given and dates given for withdrawal, all the Taliban had to do was to ensure there were sufficient problems for the Afghan government not to be able to have full control of the country and then just sit and wait.”

“All of our military personnel, all who served in Afghanistan should hold their heads high and be proud of what they achieved in that country over 20 years, of the change of lives they brought to the people of Afghanistan and the safety they brought here to the UK.

“The politicians sent them there, the politicians decided to withdraw, the politicians must be responsible for the consequences.”

During her speech, Ms May also criticised the former US president Donald Trump for opting to “do a deal” in Doha, Qatar, with the Taliban, telling MPs: “”What President Biden has done is upheld a decision that was made by President Trump.

“It was a unilateral decision of president Trump to do a deal with the Taliban that has led to this withdrawal.

“What we’ve seen from the scenes in Afghanistan is that it hasn’t been alright on the night, so I say that 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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