World leaders are speaking out about their disappointment with the security situation in Afghanistan, with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson going so far as to pin the blame on President Joe Biden and the United States.
Johnson said it was “fair to say the US decision to pull out has accelerated things, but this has in many ways been a chronicle of an event foretold,” but urged western leaders to work together to prevent Afghanistan from again becoming a “breeding ground for terrorism.”
“I think it is very important that the West should work collectively to get over to that new government – be it by the Taliban or anybody else – that nobody wants Afghanistan once again to be a breeding ground for terror and we don’t think it is in the interests of the people of Afghanistan that it should lapse back into that pre-2001 status,” Johnson told Sky News.
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The comments come as the security situation in Afghanistan has quickly deteriorated, with the Taliban staging an offensive that has taken over large swaths of the country. The group has now closed in on the capital city of Kabul.
Biden has responded by sending roughly 5,000 American troops back to the country to help secure the exit of Americans.
As conditions on the ground continue to worsen, Johnson sought to distance his country from blame for the situation, making clear that the U.K.’s role in the conflict ended years ago.
“I think we’ve known for some time this is the way things were going and as I said before, this is a mission whose military component really ended for the UK in 2014, what we’re dealing with now is the very likely advent of a new regime in Kabul, we don’t know exactly what kind of a regime that will be,” Johnson said.
Other world leaders expressed disappointment about the unfolding situation, with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau saying he is “heartbroken” by the crisis on the ground.
“We’ve been constantly monitoring the rapidly evolving situation,” Trudeau said. “We are heartbroken at the situation the Afghan people find themselves in today.”
Trudeau said the “security and safety” of Canadians in the country remain his top priority, as the country moved to suspended diplomatic operations in Afghanistan and shuttered its embassy in Kabul.
Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his government would “redouble” efforts to evacuate people in Afghanistan that have aided the Australian effort in the country.
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“Our focus now is to ensure that we continue to support those who have aided us and ensuring that 400 people have already been brought to Australia as we have been working on this quite rapidly in recent months as the situation continues to deteriorate,” Morrison said. “We will continue to redouble our effort in that regard with our partners.”
Johnson expressed similar thoughts, saying his country’s priority is to “make sure we deliver on our obligations to UK nationals in Afghanistan, to all those who have helped the British effort… over 20 years and to get them out as fast as we can.”