Refugees Welcome: The sacrifice of 457 British lives and the service of 100,000 of our brave troops over 20 years will not have been in vain if we learn the right lessons
The blame game isn’t getting us anywhere. It doesn’t help get people home, nor give any comfort to those who will have to remain in Afghanistan. はい, インクルード 我ら should have consulted its allies; はい, we too should have been better prepared; はい, we should have done more over 20 years to build up the Afghan air force and the technical capability of its military, more to tackle corruption, more to curb the poppy harvest.
Harder, and much more important, is to work out how we best help those we are leaving behind, and how we should deal, もう一度, とともに タリバン 政権.
As well as the tens of thousands trying to leave, there are already nearly a million internally displaced. What’s essential is to keep Hamid Karzai airport open, to get more people out, but also to get food and medical aid in. This means negotiating a safe corridor in which the airport can remain under international control, whether organised through the UN, それで, or indeed the UK with other allies.
2番, we will have to rebuild an international coalition that can persuade the Taliban that it’s in their own interest to prevent the re-emergence of terrorist havens that can train or inspire attacks on the west. タリバン, 順番に, may want assistance with humanitarian aid and some access to the international financial system.
だが, 第3, no good will come of abusing バイデン大統領. もちろん, the US should have involved the allies in its withdrawal planning. But this was a Nato mission, and it is Nato, the strongest and longest-lasting of all international alliances, that needs our urgent attention. Seven years ago we agreed to increase our defence spending to 2 per cent of GDP: 今日, のみ 10 の 30 members meet that target. 悪い, Nato has no policy on either China – the biggest winner from the fall of Kabul – or Africa, where Islamist extremists will have been hugely encouraged by the speed of the Taliban takeover.
So here are the real tasks for 英国 今. 最初, the country most worried about the collapse of アフガニスタン will be India: it was the Indian national security adviser who was always the most perceptive and straight-thinking on my visits to the region. The UK-India defence and security partnership needs re-invigorating, with a fuller programme of industrial co-operation and joint exercising and training.
2番, beyond the US and UK, the most capable military is France. France has borne the burden of tackling Islamist extremism across the Sahel region with only limited help from the allies. Since Brexit, Anglo-French cooperation seems to have been sadly neglected. Despite the challenges, we need that entente active again, as well as cordiale.
最後に, we should be leading in Nato, working to modernise its capabilities and streamline its decision-making, and we should be helping, even outside the EU, to strengthen European security. Islamist terrorism, Russian aggression, and mass migration threaten all of us in western Europe.
The sacrifice of 457 British lives and the service of 100,000 of our brave troops over 20 years will not have been in vain if we learn the right lessons. The right to live in peace with your neighbours, the right of girls, as well as boys, to a full education, はい, the right to change a bad government – these are universal values. Defending those values – values that apply in deepest Helmand as much as in Hertfordshire – takes huge commitment, international leadership and partnership, and above all strategic patience. Next time, we must all be stronger for longer.