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After London and Washington blamed each other for US President Joe Biden’s withdrawal of American troops, Britain will turn to China and Russia this week to try to prevent Afghanistan from falling further into chaos.
The government of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is also working closely with France — tensions with France after Brexit — trying to design the United Nations response to the crisis in Afghanistan.
Although the British minister is privately critical of the way the U.S. withdraws its troops, Tony Blair, the former British prime minister who brought British troops into Afghanistan 20 years ago, stated that Washington’s strategy is based on “the stupid political slogan of ending the’forever war’.” .
His comment refers to Biden’s promise to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan 20 weeks before the terrorist attack on September 11.
Downing Street denied that there was any disagreement between Johnson and Biden, but the British Prime Minister’s foreign policy—heavily dependent on the United States—was affected by the crisis and forced London to turn to other capitals for help.
When Johnson hosted the G7 virtual summit on Tuesday, eager to show that the United Kingdom is still relevant as a “convenor”, he said on Twitter that the wealthy nations group will coordinate efforts “to ensure a safe evacuation, prevent humanitarian crises and support the Afghan people”.
Since the Taliban seized power a week before the U.S. withdrawal, the U.S. and British governments have been strongly criticized.
As thousands of desperate families flooded into Kabul’s airport, efforts to evacuate Afghans working for Western troops and other organizations were frustrated by the chaos. The British Ministry of Defence said on Sunday that seven Afghans had died in crowds in the capital.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab (Dominic Raab) was criticized for staying in Greece for vacation after Kabul fell to the Taliban last week. He confirmed that he would contact Beijing and Moscow on Afghanistan.
Raab told the British “Sunday Telegraph”: “We will have to introduce countries like Russia and China that have the potential to moderate influence, no matter how uncomfortable it is.”
Both Russia and China have had contact with the Taliban.
The five permanent members of the UN Security Council-China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States-will meet this week to discuss how to deal with the nascent Taliban regime, including aid and counter-terrorism policies.
“This is an important moment for the United Nations,” a British official said.
Last week, Raab’s call with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi brought some encouragement to British officials, but he has not yet spoken with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Britain is also working with France to formulate a UN Security Council resolution on Afghanistan, which has prompted some to argue that after the pain of Brexit, Johnson needs to readjust his foreign policy towards European allies.
“One lesson we should learn is that if the UK and NATO EU countries want to play an important role in the military, we will need to work closely together to develop a capability, which means we don’t have to rely on the presence of the United States,” Damian Green , A former Conservative Party cabinet minister. “The sooner we start this road, the better.”
A senior British military officer agreed. “This government has put all the eggs – as well as whisks and bowls – in American baskets,” he said. “Britain’s only’forever war’ is the war with the European Union. This is ridiculous.”
Johnson’s allies believe that as Washington’s focus shifts to Asia, the United States has long been on the road to getting rid of conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
British Defense Minister James Shipper said that in the past 24 hours, efforts to evacuate British and eligible Afghans from Kabul have improved, with more than 1,700 people being airlifted out of the country.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin (Lloyd Austin) reiterated on Sunday that Biden’s August 31st deadline for the withdrawal of US troops may need to be extended. Britain has welcomed the extension to Washington.
A British official said that the evacuation timetable was “very tight” and the UK was still trying to bring the number of people allegedly “as low as several thousand” out.