Have your say: Has the deployment of UK troops in Afghanistan achieved anything?

·2-min read

The UK’s withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan has been called Britain’s biggest foreign policy disaster for 65 years.

Conservative Party MP Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, made the comments as the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan.

Its fighters took over the capital Kabul at the weekend, sparking chaotic scenes at the city’s airport as thousands of people try to flee the country.

The Taliban has swiftly seized control of the country in recent days, forcing president Ashraf Ghani to flee to neighbouring Tajikistan.

British troops entered Afghanistan with their American counterparts in 2001 in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks. The Taliban fled Kabul in November of that year.

In 2006, British troops moved into Helmand Province where their base of Camp Bastion was built.

By 2010, there were more than 10,000 UK troops in Afghanistan, as fighting against the Taliban continued. But after a transition of security to the Afghan government, British troops ended their combat role in October 2014.

Tugendhat said the withdrawal was the UK’s worst foreign policy disaster since the Suez crisis of 1956, when Britain failed to invade Egypt in an attempt to regain control of the Suez canal.

He told the BBC on Sunday that the UK had “abandoned the Afghan people”.

He also criticised foreign secretary Dominic Raab, saying: "We haven't heard from the foreign secretary in about a week, despite this being the biggest single foreign policy disaster since Suez, so I don't know what the Foreign Office is thinking."

Later, Raab said he had "deep concerns about the future for Afghanistan" and that the international community must be “united in telling the Taliban that the violence must end and human rights must be protected".

Wing Commander Matt Radnall, Officer Commanding 7 Force Protection Wing, carries a carefully folded Union Flag as the very last British troops board the last Chinook helicopter to leave Camp Bastion, Helmand Province, Afghanistan, as UK and Coalition forces carry out their Tactical Withdrawal finally leaving the base and handing it over to Afghan National Army.
British troops left Camp Bastion, Helmand Province, Afghanistan, in 2014. (PA)
Afghans crowd at the tarmac of the Kabul airport on August 16, 2021, to flee the country as the Taliban were in control of Afghanistan after President Ashraf Ghani fled the country and conceded the insurgents had won the 20-year war. (Photo by - / AFP) (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)
Afghans crowd on the tarmac of Kabul airport on Monday to try to flee the country. (AFP via Getty Images)

Raab had faced a backlash for remaining on holiday while the Taliban took over Afghanistan.

Former Labour Defence secretary, Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, said: "It is stunning that the foreign secretary would stay on holiday as our mission in Afghanistan disintegrated.

"The fact that the foreign secretary is missing in action shows graphically the lack of purpose in our government's attitude to what we set out to do twenty years ago."

Parliament will be recalled on Wednesday for one day for MPs to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.

Read more: Afghan minister says she can't believe president has fled country

Watch: Chaos at Kabul airport as thousands try to flee Afghanistan

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting