The Taliban* ramped up their military activity amid the US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, which culminated in militants capturing the capital Kabul without a fight on 15 August.
A Downing Street spokesperson has reportedly rejected allegations that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson lashed out at US President Joe Biden over America’s troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, which was allegedly slammed by London as a “furious” move and “a betrayal”.
They insisted that Johnson and Biden enjoyed a “warm and constructive” phone conversation earlier this week.
The spokesperson also denied claims that the UK prime minister was upset over Biden’s victory in the 2020 US presidential election and that he ostensibly said at the time that it would have been “better” if Donald Trump had won a second term.
REUTERS / US AIR FORCEU.S. soldiers, assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, arrive to provide security in support of Operation Allies Refuge at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 20, 2021.
In a televised interview late last week, the PM acknowledged the Taliban’s* victory in the nearly 20-year war with the US and its NATO allies as he referred to the militant group seizing power in Afghanistan on 15 August.
When asked whether he would have expected the nation to fall to the Taliban so quickly, Johnson said: “I think it’s fair to say that the US decision to pull out has accelerated things”.
UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, however, took a more bellicose stance toward the US, slamming what he called a “rotten deal” reached between then-US President Donald Trump and the Taliban* last year that stipulated the withdrawal of American and NATO troops from Afghanistan within 14 months.
REUTERS / Simon DawsonBritain’s Defence Secretary Ben Wallace
“It saddens me that the deal picked apart a lot of what had been achieved in Afghanistan over 20 years. We’ll probably be back in ten or 20 years. But acting now is not possible. The damage was done with the deal”, Wallace said.
In a separate interview with Sky News, he admitted that the Taliban is “in control” of Afghanistan, adding that British troops “are not going to go back” to the country.
On 15 August, the Taliban completed their takeover of Afghanistan by entering Kabul, which led to the collapse of President Ashraf Ghani’s government. Ghani fled Kabul and then arrived in the United Arab Emirates, while many Afghans tried to leave the country out of fear of reprisals from Taliban militants.
Russian Ambassador Dmitry Zhirnov has, meanwhile, said that “there are no demonstrations” against the militant group in Kabul and that life has returned to normal there.
He added that the situation in the Afghan capital is “fine” for the eighth day in a row, with shops opening and the Taliban taking control of policing in the city.