Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has broken his silence over the Afghanistan crisis, criticising Joe Biden of a “tragic, dangerous, and unnecessary” decision to withdraw US troops, according to a statement published by his institute.
He also warned that the UK is “at risk of relegation to the second division of global powers” following what he believed to be a lack of consultation with Downing Street in the political reaction to the Taliban-takeover of Kabul.
As Prime Minister, Mr Blair sent British troops into the country in 2001 alongside the US, following the September 11 attacks.
In the post, he admitted that he had made mistakes over Afghanistan but that “the reaction to our mistakes has been, unfortunately, further mistakes.”
Mr Blair also claimed that President Biden’s pull-out of US troops would have “every jihadist group around the world cheering.”
The US plan on withdrawing from the country before a deadline of 31st August, although President Biden has admitted that troops may remain after this date in order to assist with evacuations.
Mr Blair said: “As the leader of our country when we took the decision to join America in removing the Taliban from power, and who saw the high hopes we had of what we could achieve for the people and the world, subside under the weight of bitter reality, I know better than most how difficult are the decisions of leadership and how easy it is to be critical and how hard to be constructive.
“The world is now uncertain of where the West stands because it is so obvious that the decision to withdraw from Afghanistan in this way was driven not by grand strategy but by politics.
“We did it in obedience to an imbecilic political slogan about ending “the forever wars”, as if our engagement in 2021 was remotely comparable to our commitment 20 or even ten years ago, and in circumstances in which troop numbers had declined to a minimum and no allied soldier had lost their life in combat for 18 months.”
Image source: BBC