THE HOUSE of Commons met on Wednesday morning at 9.30 am to discuss the implications of the major defeat suffered by both the US and the UK imperialists at the hands of the Taliban movement in Afghanistan.
PM Johnson told MPs: ‘Over the last three days I have spoken with the NATO Secretary General, with President Biden, with Chancellor Merkel, with President Macron and Prime Minister Khan.’
He said: ‘We are clear and we have agreed that it would be a mistake for any country to recognise any new regime in Kabul prematurely or bilaterally.’
Mark Harper, Tory MP for the Forest of Dean, intervened: ‘There clearly is a catastrophic failure of our intelligence or our assessment of our intelligence because of the speed that this has caught us unawares.’
Johnson admitted: ‘I think that it is fair is to say that the events in Afghanistan have unfolded and that the collapse was faster than the Taliban themselves predicted.’
Johnson went on: ‘It is pretty clear that the collapse of the Afghan forces have been much faster than expected. When it came to look at the options that this country might have in view of the American decision to withdraw, we came up against this hard reality.’
He outlined the UK’s dependence on the USA, saying: ‘Since 2009, America has deployed 90% of all weapons released from all NATO aircraft. At the peak of the conflict, when there were 132,000 troops on the ground, 90,000 of them were American.
‘The West could not continue this US-led mission, a mission conceived and executed in support and in defence of America, without American logistic, without US airpower and without American might.’
Ex Tory PM Theresa May intervened: ‘Can he set out when did he first speak personally to Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of NATO, to discuss with him the possibility of putting together an alliance of other forces in order to replace the Americans.’
Johnson replied: ‘I really do believe it is an illusion that there is appetite amongst any of our partners to continue a military presence or indeed for a military solution.’
Johnson then set out plans for anti-Taliban Afghans to quit the country.
Johnson said: ‘I can tell the House that we have so far secured the safe return of 306 UK nationals, and 2,052 Afghan nationals as part of our resettlement programme, with a further 2,000 Afghan applications completed and many more being processed.’
Labour’s Chris Bryant, MP for Rhondda, said: ‘The Home Secretary announced this morning that the UK will be taking 20,000 refugees from Afghanistan in but that only 5,000 will be able to come this year. What are the fifteen thousand then to do? Hang around and wait to be executed?’
Labour MP for Walthamstow, Stella Creasy said: ‘Until last week the Home Office was sending people back to Afghanistan. Can the Prime Minister assure the House that we will not send people back to this nightmare?’
Labour leader Keir Starmer said: ‘It has been a disastrous week, an unfolding tragedy. 150,000 have served in Afghanistan. Many returned with life changing injures and tragically 457 did not return at all.
‘There has been a major miscalculation over the resilience of the Afghan forces and staggering complacency from our government about the Taliban threat.
‘The result is that the Taliban are now back in control of Afghanistan, the gains made through twenty years of sacrifice hang precariously. We face new threats to our security and an appalling humanitarian crisis.’
Scottish nationalist Stewart Hosie MP said: ‘457 UK service personnel, nearly 70,000 Afghan government troops and police, aid workers, journalists, humanitarians, tens of thousands of Afghan civilians killed over the last two decades.
‘Many thousands more injured or brutalised. I fear that all that pain and suffering was in vain.’