Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said it is an “illusion” to think Britain alone could have prevented the collapse of Afghanistan after the U.S. withdrew its forces.
As members of parliament returned to Westminster for an emergency sitting, the prime minister denied the government had been unprepared for the Taliban takeover at the weekend.
He told a packed Commons chamber the priority now is to evacuate remaining British nationals and their allies.
The government has faced intense criticism – not least from Tories – following the rapid unravelling at the weekend of the Western-backed government of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in the face of the Taliban advance.
Johnson said when ministers came to consider Britain’s options after the U.S. announced its intention to withdraw, they came up against the “hard reality” that there was no will among allies to continue without the Americans.
“The West could not continue this U.S.-led mission, a mission conceived and executed in support of America.
“I really think that it is an illusion to believe that there is appetite amongst any of our partners for a continued military presence or for a military solution imposed by NATO in Afghanistan.
“That idea ended with the combat mission in 2014,” he said.
“I do not believe that today deploying tens of thousands of British troops to fight the Taliban is an option, no matter how sincerely people may advocate it.
“And I appreciate their sincerity – but I do not believe that that is an option that would commend itself either to the British people or to this House.
“We must deal with the position as it is now, accepting what we have achieved and what we have not achieved,” he added. (PA Media-dpa/NAN) (www.nannews.ng)