Members of the British Parliament condemned President Joe Biden during a parliamentary debate over the hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan.
In addition to Biden, the MPs criticized Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab over the bungled retreat.
Newspapers across the U.K. reported that Johnson faces fury from all wings of the Conservative Party. No less than 11 former cabinet ministers and dozens of M.P.s expressed frustration and anger at the failures in preparation and intelligence.
Local headlines included “Johnson Humiliated” and “Asleep at the Wheel.”
Many prominent newspapers, however, placed more responsibility for the failures on President Biden, describing the criticism of an unprecedented rebuke of an American president.
One unnamed cabinet minister is quoted saying that the U.S. failure to realize that Afghanistan was teetering on the brink of collapse demonstrates that America is “looking inward and is unwilling to do even a modest amount to maintain global order.”
“The U.S. remains by far and away our most important ally, but we are not Washington’s most important ally by some stretch,” the minister said.
Parliament called Biden’s withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan “catastrophic” and “shameful.” Some members, including several who served alongside U.S. troops in Afghanistan, accused Biden of “throwing us and everybody else to the fire” when he decided to withdraw.
Many also attacked Biden for his “shameful” comments and criticism of the Afghan National Army. It is “dishonorable” to blame Afghanistan’s fighting forces for the takeover by the Taliban, they argued.
“Those who have never fought for the colors they fly should be careful about criticizing those who have. Biden is included in only a few U.S. presidents who have no military service,” said Tom Tugendhat, the Conservative chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee and an Afghanistan veteran.
Biden continues to defend position
Even following the fall of Kabul to the Taliban, Biden said he stood “squarely behind” his decision to withdraw troops.
“There was never a good time to withdraw U.S. forces,” he said, blaming Afghanistan’s military and president for the collapse of the country.
“American troops cannot and should not be fighting in a war, and dying in a war, that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves,” he said.
The withdrawal, broadcast worldwide, led to panic in Kabul as thousands of Afghans surged toward the Hamid Karzai International Airport to flee the Taliban and evacuate the country.
Many Afghans clung desperately to U.S. aircraft as they took off. Two fell to their deaths, while one was found dead in a cargo jet’s wheel well.
According to reports, some mothers began desperately throwing their babies over barbed wire fences as they begged and shouted at British and U.S. troops to save them from the Taliban. Other reports from the country describe Afghans, many who assisted the U.S. and other countries in the war, being dragged out of homes and mutilated and murdered in the streets.
The Taliban bludgeoned one female police officer until she was unrecognizable in front of her husband and children. She was eight months pregnant.