Afghanistan - Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 1:23 pm on 18 August 2021.

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Photo of Lord Blencathra Lord Blencathra Chair, Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee, Chair, Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee 1:23, 18 August 2021

My Lords, all my life I have been pro-American and favourably disposed to the United States, but not any more at this moment. What Biden has done in Afghanistan will go down in ignominy as one of the most shameful and despicable acts of betrayal by any American President. Tens of thousands of men will be slaughtered, thousands of young girls forced to marry these Taliban brutes and 14 million women driven back into slavery. Afghanistan was emerging into the light with freedoms for women and children, who will now be ruled with 500 year-old barbaric religious laws. That is Biden’s legacy. He cannot blame it on Trump; Biden boasted that in his first 100 days he issued a record 24 executive orders, all of which were direct reversals of Trump policies. He should have listened to his generals and changed this policy also.

This is not like Saigon; it is far worse. First, the retaliation against the population by Islamist fanatics is likely to be far greater than what the North Vietnamese did to the beaten south. Secondly, the appalling humanitarian crisis described in this House today will centre on Afghanistan but the terrorist consequences of this US sell-out will affect us all. The Viet Cong had no agenda outside Vietnam but Afghanistan is now under the control of Islamist fanatics who want to wage war on every western democracy.

The US spent billions equipping the Afghan army. A few weeks ago, Biden said:

“We provided our Afghan partners with all the tools—let me emphasize: all the tools”.

He has just donated all those tools to the Taliban—the largest arms haul in history. He has given the Taliban and al-Qaeda state-of-the-art military equipment. The Taliban of course will not need all those weapons and will pass them on to terrorists around the world. Just as the Stingers that the CIA gave the Taliban to fight the Soviets in the 1980s were used against the Americans from 2001 onwards, so these US weapons will now be used against us. The Taliban will empty the bank vaults but fill the opium factories. They will fund terrorism around the world, aided and abetted by their corrupt ally and partner Pakistan, with its totally treacherous ISI security service.

The final disaster in this is the question of who will stand up to China now. China has been working with the Taliban hand-in-glove so that it can get into Afghanistan and rob it of every mineral that it can get its hands on. I am afraid that this blundering President—who, according to press reports, apparently got lost in his own garden—has now lost the credibility of US leadership with this surrender.

Biden has put America back, all right—back into the bunker. The lesson for China is this: play a long game and America will not have the stomach to stick it out. China is a threat to world peace, but how can we now trust the US to lead the long battle against it? Biden may have condemned the world to Chinese domination in future and the end of western liberal democracy.