Joe Biden praises ‘success’ of Afghanistan evacuation
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In thinly veiled remarks taking aim at the US President, the senior minister said the failure of a country to see through its military missions was a sign of the demise of a superpower. Government ministers have been left angry and shocked at the US’s actions behind the scenes, but the comments by Mr Wallace are the closest a member of the Cabinet has yet come to publicly attacking the White House.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson previously said staying in the region was impossible once the US withdrew, but did not criticise the decision.
In an interview with the Spectator magazine, Mr Wallace was asked if the exit from Afghanistan demonstrated the limits of British power on the world stage.
“It is obvious that Britain is not a superpower,” he said before appearing to turn his attention to Mr Biden.
He added: “But a superpower that is also not prepared to stick at something isn’t probably a superpower either.
“It is certainly not a global force, it’s just a big power.”
The comments are not the first time Mr Wallace has attacked the US for its Afghanistan policy.
Last month, the Defence Secretary criticised Donald Trump’s peace deal with the Taliban signed in 2020.
He described it as a “rotten deal” and a “mistake”.
“At the time of the Trump deal with, obviously the Taliban, I felt that was a mistake to have done it that way.
“We will all, in the international community probably pay the consequences of that,” the Wyre and Preston North MP said at the time.
“I’ve been pretty blunt about it publicly and that’s quite a rare thing when it comes to United States decisions, but strategically it causes a lot of problems and as an international community, it’s very difficult for what we’re seeing today.”
While Mr Trump was responsible for the withdrawal policy, it was Mr Biden who authorised the final exit of US troops.
It took the Taliban less than 10 days to regain control of the capital of Kabul and overthrow the Afghan government.
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In the face of criticism from Nato allies for abandoning the region, the US President has sought to defend his actions.
Yesterday he said staying in the country was not an option.
On social media, he said the decision was “not just about Afghanistan”.
He said: “It’s about ending an era of major military operations to remake other countries.”
Giving a televised address, he added: “Let me be clear: leaving August 31 is not due to an arbitrary deadline.
“It was designed to save American lives.”
“I was not going to extend this forever war, and I was not extending a forever exit,” he said.
“The decision to end the military lift operations at Kabul airport was based on unanimous recommendation of my civilian and military advisers.”
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