at kabul airport today there’s still a long uncertain weight still people squeeze through taliban checkpoints hours after yet more tragedy women dragging themselves from a terrifying crush seven people died at the airport yesterday at least 20 deaths here in.
The past week the taliban say it’s the us’s fault this spokesman somewhat off script wonders who wouldn’t want to escape to america but thousands are stuck somewhere in between one family posted images of the u.s side of the airport they say they spent five days in a filthy field no place for a young child we sadly know that at least seven people died in the crowds yesterday, and we send our condolences to their families it was just unimaginable the circumstances that people were trying to cue in yesterday but now the war of words is intensifying tony blair sent british troops into afghanistan i cannot disclose obviously how long this action will last but we will act with reason and resolve the former prime minister called the withdrawal humiliating accusing the us president joe biden of making decisions based not on strategy this long past time we end the forever wars but what he called imbecilic slogans about ending forever wars tragic and dangerous said mr blair you’ve now got this group back in charge of afghanistan they will give um protection and sucker to al-qaeda you’ve got isis already in the country trying to operate at the same time you know you look around the world and the only people really cheering this decision are the people hostile to western interests this week the world has been watching the taliban‘s highly choreographed coup social media a new weapon in its armory recent posts show taliban members meeting the afghan cricket team a senior talib apparently in tears reflecting on decades of war and former president hamid karzai and next to him on the right abdullah abdullah the defeated afghan government‘s peace envoy welcomed for talks all male of course two brave women employed by the presidential palace say the reality is far more brutal based on the taliban‘s announcement that everyone should return to work we tried we recorded a video which they didn’t want us to take and has now been deleted unfortunately they stopped us from going into work and said you’re not allowed until further notice there are also the first real signs of armed resistance former afghan army soldiers reportedly recapturing three districts 100 miles north of kabul yesterday in panshir province one of the very few areas to fend off the taliban so far these men say they’ll fight to the death amid shouts of long live afghanistan today taliban gunmen nearby demand they surrender it is seven days since the taliban‘s extraordinary capture of kabul and it is their flag still flying their old enemies still frantically flying out leaving in disarray leaving behind a country at the mercy of taliban rule well a little earlier on i spoke to the conservative mp tobias elwood he’s the chair of the commons defense select committee and also a former army officer i started by asking him what should have been done differently with the withdrawal there was no discussions behind the scenes uh with us the united states decided to withdraw their military first of all from bagram airport that was the first era they then made to the judgment to take civilians out after the military had departed it would have been better to have it the other way around and then there’s the wider question as to why we’re departing in the first place and i think for many members of parliament reflecting on last week’s debate you know it’s been a i think a miserable time for the west as we recognize that we seem to be a diminished force that we seem to be less able to stand up to uh the fast-changing world around us how much longer though would you have had american and british troops stay it’s been nearly 20 years we need to put this into context we’ve not been in combat since 2014.
This got caught up in an american political election narrative to say bring our troops home the forever war actually as i said in the chamber last week there are more american personnel in the embassy here in london uh than there were in uh in afghanistan there were just enough though uh 2000 troops to give the afghan forces the edge over the taliban it was messy there’s no doubt about it it’s not easy in afghanistan but they were making progress and what we’ve done is taken away the top cover taking away the air superiority which has meant the talent the armed forces themselves the afghans didn’t feel that we had their backs that we’d sold them out but let’s make it clear this is by no means a peaceful transition the warlords are now regrouping there are many many uh civilians the twice the population than back in 1996 that don’t want the taliban there you’ve already seen demonstrations on those lines as well what do you think about the fact that figures like hamid kazai abdullah abdullah key figures in the afghan government backed by the us and the uk are now meeting with taliban political leadership you have to talk with the taliban partly because there’s an acute crisis here of keeping that airport open this can only be done with uh the the oversight of the taliban uh themselves but it actually shows you a little bit about the elitism of kabul of these characters that simply want to survive that join whoever is the force that looks like they’re going to win and so they’ve jumped into bed with the taliban themselves china will be doing the same to some extent russia will as well but the consequences for the wider afghanistan is very very sad indeed the taliban have no experience in running a country this is a disparate movement made up of groupings and militias not some form of government in waiting and all the people that ran the government the civil servants and those who ran the airport for example are departing so you have a huge crisis a humanitarian disaster starvation is likely to take place simply because the economy will grind to a whole because the u.s has also frozen a lot of afghanistan‘s assets this is why it’s crucial for the prime minister in his g7 statements to look at uh investing in the un agencies for the united nations to come in the the world food program for example unhcr if they’re not invited into the country there’s going to be a colossal humanitarian disaster all because we chose to depart doesn’t the fact though that the afghan elite are now queuing up to meet with the taliban show that you can’t actually launch an invasion and bring about democracy we made some school boy errors we didn’t start training the afghan forces for five years we denied the taliban a place at the table in 2001 how different life would have been had they been there and of course we have a kabul-centric western-style government completely inappropriate for a tribal structure such as afghanistan schoolboy errors that we should have got right that all aside over the last few years you and i have not been discussing afghanistan it’s not been in the news it’s been doing as best as it could do we’ve heard from tony blair today what do you think about his comments they’re absolutely right and i’m afraid it it it shows an indication of the uh difficulties that this special relationship if i can put it that way i’m currently going through do you wish that our current prime minister was more like tony blair i don’t think that’s a helpful comparison i mean don’t forget tony blair much as he’s saying these things which i agree with he then became completely distracted by absolutely uh wrongly taking us into a war in 2003.
Complete unnecessary distraction as to what was going on so i hear what tony blair says but what we need now is a commitment uh to rebuild western resolve rest and determination of what we believe in what we stand for what we’re willing to defend because the people who are benefiting from this right now are the terrorists and are our adversaries particularly china and russia and that perhaps is the sadness of all this because just look where afghanistan sits in between those two countries and indeed iran as well what a great country to have kept close to given where the powers are going to shift over the next couple of decades tobias.
I would thank you very much for joining us thank you and just before we came on air i also spoke to andarabhi he’s afghanistan‘s former interior minister and is now in the united states i started by asking him if he thought there was a serious leadership issue in afghanistan even before the taliban advance i think yeah that that’s true i think we had a well the us taliban peace agreement uh despite a turnout very the way it is but it was an opportunity it was an opportunity for us uh that taliban came to the table for discussion after 20 years we could have certainly reached an agreement with them and tried to leverage the six months that we had when the u.s had no withdrawal plan at that time
I mean they had but not necessarily biden’s announcement i think we lost a lot of those opportunities and we are where we are do you think that resistance to the taliban is possible now or is there only a political solution left is there a military resistance possible there is huge uh number of new generation i mean in media and social media new youths women activists these are all those different pillars that are active compared to 20 years ago when taliban was in power. I think they will all join up and certainly create a problem in long term for taliban if they continue the way of governance they too .
I mean the taliban says that they have changed or appears to be making noises that they are now different do you believe them i think time would show but the thing is that the fundamental cause for taliban to be the taliban of today or to get the power is based on violence based on those suicide attacks based on those terrorism based on their tactical and technical support from al-qaeda and other international terrorism so all as a and also a large number of radicals within the taliban rank so these moderate talibans may try to bring a different line uh but i think it’s it’s crucial to see how they are gonna change the foot and the ground taliban and their relationship with terrorists which seems to be very very hard at this stage what do you think about how the us has behaved in all this i think the us
I mean have been talking about its longest war yes i mean that they are they could not continue there for years and years to be there what they could play differently is certainly what they could were they able to pressurize rani during his four years government to expand its outreach i mean they tried but i think they had a lot of tools that they could do that more actively uh so but the rest i think every country makes decision based on their interest and we should have played the well in the circumstances for our entrance i mean how do you reflect back on your own political career and what was going on in afghanistan do you think things should have been done differently i think there has been some times that the president rani was in his circle especially the national security adviser and they they have been playing very tactically they have been making decisions on the hierarchies that was not at their level uh they have been limiting the power they have been not engaging with other political parties and they have been even not conducting national security council meetings with a wider group was members of it
I think that was one of my disputes with the president that if you narrow the power and make decisions yourself and do not give your ministers the right uh authority the legal authority that they have then we cannot continue i think uh that was the biggest mistake of the president limiting the power to himself and few around him masudi.