| 20 May 2024, Monday |

UK parliament announces inquiry into Afghanistan policy

The government’s policy towards Afghanistan and the resulting military withdrawal from the country, are under inquiry as announced by the UK Parliament.

Tom Tugendhat MP will chair the Foreign Affair Committee inquiry  that will examine how the collapse of Kabul was handed by Whitehall officials and what the implications for UK security might be.

Britain’s future relationship with the Taliban will also be examined and whether any opposition or armed resistance towards the Islamist group should be given support.

Wider geo-political issues of the takeover will also be considered, including the effect on UK-US diplomatic ties and the shifting roles of Russia and China.

On Saturday, it was revealed the last evacuation flight carrying UK troops had left Kabul, bringing the Britain’s military involvement in the country to an end after nearly two decades.

On Wednesday, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab faced the same committee over his role in the Afghanistan affair, for which he faced stinging criticism by opposition politicians and sections of the UK media.

Mr Raab revealed that Britain’s intelligence services had been blindsided by the speed of Afghanistan’s collapse to advancing Taliban fighters.

During the hearing, it also emerged that a Whitehall paper published in July had expressed concern over the risk of the collapse of the country.

In a statement, Mr Tugendhat, a former British Army soldier who served in Afghanistan, said events in the country were a “catastrophe” and described the Taliban as a “vicious fundamentalist group”.

“This inquiry will explore the most pressing and urgent questions we face,” he said. “What should be the nature of our engagement with a Taliban-led Afghanistan? What should Britain do to accommodate those seeking refuge? And how should it prevent the country becoming a haven for terrorists?”

“The true extent of the damage done will only become clear in the coming months and years. However, it is already clear that the world has become more dangerous and unstable.”

The Foreign Affairs Committee says it will accept submissions from the public to be presented in the inquiry until Friday, October 15.