Bloomberg News is reporting that in June, President Joe Biden assured NATO allies that the US would be able to stay in Kabul, to the point of London believing they would be able to keep their embassy there open.
President Joe Biden told key allies in June that he would maintain enough of a security presence in Afghanistan to ensure they could continue to operate in the capital following the main U.S. withdrawal, a vow made before the Taliban’s rapid final push across the country, according to a British diplomatic memo seen by Bloomberg.
Biden promised U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other leaders at the Group of Seven summit in Cornwall, England, that “critical U.S. enablers” would remain in place to keep Kabul safe following the drawdown of NATO forces, the note said. British officials determined the U.S. would provide enough personnel to ensure that the U.K. embassy in Kabul could continue operating.
But the withdrawal of U.S. forces saw the Afghan government collapse as Taliban fighters raced across the country seizing provincial capitals, culminating in scenes of chaos at Kabul’s airport this week as Western governments tried to pull out their diplomats. The British embassy has since been evacuated, Johnson’s office said, and the U.S. embassy is now shuttered.
The discussions between G7 leaders highlight how Western governments were caught off guard by the speed of the Taliban advance. Foreign ministers in both the U.K. and Germany have faced calls to quit over their initially sluggish efforts to extract officials on the ground, other nationals and the Afghans who worked with them.
Pressure is also growing on Biden to extend his Aug. 31 deadline to pull out troops from the country in order to get as many people as possible safely out of the country. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Friday that some of the alliance’s members want to see the U.S. mission extended, a position pushed by many Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Congress.
The British document also showed that the U.S. was privately briefing allies that they should be prepared for a Taliban offensive before any settlement that might have allowed former President Ashraf Ghani to remain in power. U.S. diplomats said that the Taliban would “test the Afghan government militarily” before they started taking seriously peace talks that were taking place in Doha, the note said.
White House officials didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
This isn't UK PM Boris Johnson stabbing Biden in the back, this is stabbing him in the front, in broad daylight, on global television and spending a good 30 minutes on the slo-mo replays. Somebody at Downing Street wants all of this to fall on Biden's shoulders, and for Britain to do this to the US shows just how furious they are over there.