Prime Minister calls US President: We mustn't lose Afghanistan gains

Boris Johnson’s barb at Joe Biden: Prime Minister phones US President to say we mustn’t lose the gains we’ve made in Afghanistan… as American media unite to label his speech one of the most shameful in history

  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke with US President Joe Biden over the phone 
  • The discussion between the pair is thought to be one of the first calls from an international leader the President has taken since the insurgents’ power grab
  • It follows criticism from the US media and politicians over the Taliban takeover 
  • US media have heavily criticised President Biden for a speech made on Monday evening  in which he blamed the Afghans for not being prepared for attack
  • The pair will meet virtually at a meeting of the G7 leaders in the coming days  

 Boris Johnson last night urged Joe Biden not to throw away the gains of the last 20 years following the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan.

In a thinly veiled warning over the consequences of the US military retreat from Kabul, the Prime Minister reminded the President of the need to protect the West against terrorism.

It follows a wave of criticism from US media and British and European politicians following the Taliban’s dramatic takeover.

A Downing Street spokesman said: ‘The leaders welcomed US and UK cooperation in recent days to help evacuate our nationals, current and former staff, and others from Afghanistan. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson reminded US President Joe Biden of the need to protect the West against terrorism

‘They resolved to continue working closely together on this in the days and weeks ahead to allow as many people as possible to leave the country.’  

The discussion between the pair is thought to be one of the first calls from an international leader the President has taken since the insurgents’ power grab.

The Downing Street spokesman added: ‘The Prime Minister and President Biden agreed on the need for the global community to come together to prevent a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

‘The Prime Minister outlined UK plans including increased humanitarian aid to the region and resettlement of refugees. 

‘The Prime Minister stressed the importance of not losing the gains made in Afghanistan over the last twenty years, of protecting ourselves against any emerging threat from terrorism and of continuing to support the people of Afghanistan.’


The discussion between the pair is thought to be one of the first calls from an international leader the President has taken

The pair said they will discuss this issue further at a virtual meeting of G7 leaders in the coming days.

It comes as the American media appeared to be turning on Mr Biden yesterday over the botched withdrawal of troops.

The President had blamed the Afghans for not being prepared for the Taliban insurgents’ rapid attack. But his address to the American people on Monday night was slammed by media outlets and political commentators.

The Wall Street Journal described the speech as ‘one of the most shameful in history by a commander in chief’.

In an editorial, the newspaper said the President had ‘refused to accept responsibility for the botched withdrawal while blaming others’, adding that the ‘one group he conspicuously did not blame was the Taliban’.

The President blamed the Afghans for not being prepared for the Taliban attack in his speech

His address to the American people on Monday night was slammed by media outlets and political commentators

It was reported last night that in 2010, Mr Biden said ‘f*** that’ when asked if the US had a moral obligation to protect civilians in Afghanistan. He made the blunt remarks to Richard Holbrooke, a top US diplomat in the Barack Obama administration.

In Monday’s speech, Mr Biden said: ‘I stand squarely behind my decision’, and claimed that Afghanistan’s political leaders and military were ‘not willing to fight for themselves’.

‘We gave them every chance to determine their own future. We could not provide them with the will to fight for that future.’

A Washington Post editorial said Mr Biden could have listened to the ‘many seasoned hands’ giving him alternatives to withdrawal, adding that him blaming others was ‘unseemly’ given that 2,448 US service members died in Afghanistan in 20 years.

The pair said they will discuss the issue further at a virtual meeting of G7 leaders 

An editorial in the New York Post said Mr Biden ‘alone is responsible’ for the Taliban takeover

An editorial in the New York Post said Mr Biden ‘alone is responsible’ for the Taliban takeover, which it described as an ‘utter catastrophe, for Afghans and for world security’.

German chancellor Angela Merkel said: ‘This is an extremely bitter development. Bitter, dramatic, terrible – especially, of course, for the people in Afghanistan. We all made the wrong assessment.’ 

The Ministry of Defence in the UK repeatedly warned its US counterparts that the plan to remove US troops by September 11 was too quick. Officials told Washington the timetable was ‘very aggressive’.

A Foreign Office source said: ‘There was not a lot of consultation. He [Mr Biden] basically announced what he wanted to do. Every Nato ally, including us and his defence staff, will have been advising a longer delay.’ 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel admitted: ‘We all made the wrong assessment.’ 

Former Treasury minister Huw Merriman, chairman of the Commons transport committee, called Mr Biden a ‘total blithering idiot’ for blaming Afghan forces. Another former minister, Simon Clarke, said it was the end of an American era.

‘The more you reflect, the more you realise the speech he gave last night was grotesque,’ he tweeted. ‘An utter repudiation of the America so many of us have admired so deeply all our lives – the champion of liberty and democracy and the guardian of what’s right in the world.’ 

Tory backbencher Angela Richardson said: ‘The world just got a little bit smaller after that statement. Very protectionist.

‘Only concerned about terrorist threats on US soil and no real acknowledgment of the devastation left behind in Afghanistan.’

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