U.K. lawmakers are furious with the U.S. over reports that U.K. senior military commanders were left in the dark on the United States’ plan to withdraw from Afghanistan, according to reports.
Senior U.K. military commanders were not included in discussions between the U.S. and the Taliban and were not given warning about when they could be forced to pull out, according to The Times.
Politico London Playbook confirmed the report, saying a U.K. government official said the U.S. did not communicate to its ally how it planned to withdraw, nor did it share details about the pace of its withdrawal.
Meanwhile, Biden reportedly ignored U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s efforts to contact him earlier this week. Johnson first requested a call with Biden on Monday morning, though a call did not take place until 10 p.m. on Tuesday evening, according to the Telegraph.
One U.K. Cabinet minister told The Times that Biden’s actions over the past week “shows that the U.S. 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 the U.S.’s most important ally by some stretch,” the Cabinet minister reportedly added.
During an emergency meeting of the U.K.’s parliament on Wednesday, Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy said she recognizes that the decision by the U.S. to withdraw its military presence “created an impossible situation for the U.K.” and that NATO’s intention was always to withdraw.
However, she added that NATO’s intention was to withdraw in a planned and orderly fashion, a reality that has failed to come to fruition and has created “an unparalleled moment of shame” for the U.K. government.
Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell similarly noted that after 20 years of British and American involvement “this is not the outcome we had expected.”
“Our presence in Afghanistan may not have continued indefinitely, but it needed to be handled in the right way – it has not been,” he said. “President Biden must be held to account for his actions.”
Meanwhile, Biden continued to defend how he handled the situation during an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos aired on Wednesday.
“You don’t think this could have been handled—this exit could have been handled better in any way, no mistakes?” Stephanopoulos asked the president.
“No, I don’t think it could have been handled in a way that, we’re gonna go back in hindsight and look—but the idea that somehow, there’s a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I don’t know how that happens,” Biden responded.
The world has watched in horror this week as Kabul fell and masses of people scrambled to leave, with Taliban fighters whipping and beating Afghans trying to enter the airport where the U.S. military is handling evacuations. Seven people died at the airport on Monday when hundreds of Afghans flooded the tarmac, desperate to flee the country and escape the Taliban.
All of this comes as U.S. intelligence agencies reportedly warned that the Afghan military and government were in danger of collapse just last month, as Biden publicly assured Americans that the Taliban’s takeover was “not inevitable.”