Joe Biden is guilty of an ‘abrogation of statesmanship’ over his decision to exit Afghanistan, says former head of British Army

  • Lord Richard Dannatt was the chief of the general staff between 2006 and 2009
  • He said Joe Biden is guilty of an ‘abrogation of statesmanship’ over Afghan exit
  • He said deciding to complete US exit on August 31 ‘makes little strategic sense’ 

The former head of the British Army has accused Joe Biden of an ‘abrogation of statesmanship’ over his decision to pull US forces out of Afghanistan by August 31. 

Lord Richard Dannatt, who served as chief of the general staff from 2006 to 2009, said it ‘makes little strategic sense’ to exit the country now just to end the deployment before the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks. 

He suggested Mr Biden had taken the ‘strategic decision merely to satisfy an election slogan’ to end the so-called ‘forever war’. 

Lord Dannatt also said calls for an inquiry into ‘higher-level decision-making’ during the Afghanistan conflict ‘must not fall on deaf or politically embarrassed ears’.    

Lord Richard Dannatt, who served as chief of the general staff from 2006 to 2009, said it ‘makes little strategic sense’ to exit the country now just to end the deployment before the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks

Lord Dannatt suggested Mr Biden had taken the ‘strategic decision merely to satisfy an election slogan’ to end the so-called ‘forever war’

Boris Johnson and other NATO allies had urged the US President to push the deadline back to provide more time for airlifts from Kabul airport. 

But Mr Biden has opted to stick to his exit date, amid fears in Washington that delaying the close of the mission could put US troops at greater risk of attack from the Taliban or Isis.  

Mr Biden declared earlier this year that ‘it is time to end the forever war’ in the country as he laid the groundwork for the withdrawal. 

Writing in The Telegraph, Lord Dannatt said: ‘Until last month, the Afghan National Army, supported by a modest but highly effective international force, was successfully containing the Taliban while Afghan civil society continued to develop. 

‘In this context, the precipitate decision by Mr Biden to end the so-called forever war by the 20th anniversary of 9/11 makes little strategic sense. 

‘Indeed, to take a strategic decision merely to satisfy an election slogan is an abrogation of statesmanship.’ 

Lord Dannatt said the decision to leave the country by August 31 is ‘the latest in a series of errors that have characterised the Afghan campaign’. 

Backing demands for a probe into the handling of the conflict, he added: ‘Recent calls for an inquiry into the higher-level decision-making in the Afghan campaign must not fall on deaf or politically embarrassed ears. 

‘Errors need to be exposed, lessons learnt and processes changed to ensure that the UK is better placed for the future.’ 

Lord Dannatt warned the chaotic departure from Afghanistan will harm the reputation of NATO. 

He said that ‘one wonders how impressed, or amused’ China will be at the arrival of the UK Carrier Group in the South China Sea given that a ‘near medieval group such as the Taliban can humble the world’s only superpower, and by association ourselves’. 

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