U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Thursday that most British troops have left Afghanistan in a speech he gave to Parliament.
“The international military presence in Afghanistan was never intended to be permanent,” Johnson said in a speech. “All British troops assigned to NATO’s mission in Afghanistan are now returning home.”
Johnson warned that the Taliban are taking some areas of Afghanistan. “It is hard to see a future without bloodier conflict and wider Taliban control. Already, they are on the brink of gaining control of provincial capitals, and Afghan security forces are at risk of being overwhelmed.”
But Johnson also remained optimistic that the Taliban wouldn’t threaten the West.
“The training camps have been destroyed. What remains of al-Qaeda’s leadership no longer resides in Afghanistan and no terrorist attacks against western targets have been mounted from Afghan soil since 2001,” Johnson said. “We should never lose sight of those essential facts.
Johnson said there is “no military path to victory” for the terrorist organization.
“There must be a peaceful and a negotiated settlement for the political crisis in Afghanistan, and the U.K. will continue to work to ensure that that takes place,” Johnson said. “I believe that can happen — I do not believe that the Taliban are guaranteed the kind of victory that we sometimes read about.”
“For obvious reasons, I will not disclose the timetable of our departure, though I can tell the house [Parliament] that most of our personnel have already left.”
British forces were first sent to Afghanistan in 2001 after the 9/11 attacks, according to Reuters. 457 British soldiers were killed while fighting in the war, according to Reuters.
“I hope no one will leap to the false conclusion that the withdrawal of our forces somehow means the end of Britain’s commitment to Afghanistan, we are not about to turn away, nor are we under any illusions about the perils of today’s situation and what might lie ahead,” Johnson said.
Tony Blair, the former prime minister for the U.K., said in May he’s concerned about the consequences of U.S. troops leaving Afghanistan after Democratic President Joe Biden’s promise in April to withdraw all American troops by Sept. 11.
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