LONDON (AP), Tony Blair, British Prime Minister, said that every Jihadist group around the world is cheering the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The former Labour Party leader stated in a long essay that the chaotic pullout by the Taliban allowed them to reclaim power. This could have a devastating effect on all that has been accomplished in Afghanistan in the past 20 years, including the advancements in living standards and education of girls.
Blair, who was prime minister from 1997 to 2007, a period which also saw him return the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, stated that "The abandonment Afghanistan and its people are tragic, dangerous and unnecessary not in their interests and no in ours."
"The world is uncertain about where the West stands now because it is obvious that the decision not to withdraw from Afghanistan was driven by grand strategy, but by politics," he said.
Blair also accused Joe Biden, the U.S. president, of following a naive political slogan about ending forever wars. As if our 2021 engagement was even remotely comparable to that of 20 years ago.
Former prime minister, whose reputation suffered in the U.K. after the failure to locate the alleged weapons-of-mass destruction used to justify the U.S. invasion of Iraq, stated that Britain has a moral responsibility to remain in Afghanistan until all those who need to be evacuated are taken out.
He said, "We must evacuate Afghanistan and provide sanctuary for those to whom our responsibility are the Afghans who have helped us and stood with us. They have a right and a right to demand that we stand by them."
As other countries, Britain is also trying to evacuate Afghan allies and its own citizens. However, the U.S. has set an Aug. 31 deadline. It's a race against the clock.
The country has a total of 4,000 U.K. citizens and 5,000 Afghan friends, including translators, drivers, and other staff, that are earmarked to get a seat on a flight. Sunday's statement by the Ministry of Defense stated that almost 4,000 people have been evacuated.
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Blair acknowledged that mistakes have been made in the last two decades, but added that military intervention can be noble and effective when confronting an extreme Islamist threat.
Today, we seem to be in a state of mind that regards the bringing about of democracy as a utopian delusion. We also consider any intervention of any kind as a fools' errand. He said.
Blair warned that America's decision to keep Britain in the dark about its withdrawal could lead to Britain being relegated to the second division.
He said that the U.K. was in a position as the Group of Seven's president to coordinate international responses to the new regime.
The Conservative government of Britain has been diplomatically working to prevent unilateral recognition by the Taliban government in Afghanistan.
Blair stated that we need to create a list with incentives, sanctions, and actions we can take to protect the civilian population. This will help the Taliban understand the consequences of their actions."
Follow all AP stories on developments in Afghanistan at https://apnews.com/hub/Afghanistan