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UK Parliament Recalled for Afghan Debate Next Week as Taliban Enters Kabul

© AFP 2023 / NOORULLAH SHIRZADAAfghan Taliban militants and villagers attend a gathering as they celebrate the peace deal and their victory in the Afghan conflict on US in Afghanistan, in Alingar district of Laghman Province on March 2, 2020
Afghan Taliban militants and villagers attend a gathering as they celebrate the peace deal and their victory in the Afghan conflict on US in Afghanistan, in Alingar district of Laghman Province on March 2, 2020 - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.08.2021
Three prominent Tory backbenchers have criticised Prime Minister Boris Johnson for failing to oppose the Taliban's return to power in Afghanistan and called for a new military intervention, even as talks on a transfer of power were underway in Kabul.
The British Parliament will be recalled next week for an emergency debate on the situation in Afghanistan, where the Taliban is set to form a new government after 20 years of war.
Downing Street said on Sunday that MPs, currently on their summer recess break, would sit for five hours on 18 August to discuss the crisis, which has seen 600 UK troops re-deployed to cover a hurried evacuation of the British Embassy.
"The prime minister has convened a COBRA meeting for later this afternoon to discuss the situation in Afghanistan", a spokesperson added, referring to the government's emergency response committee.
Johnson ruled out a full-scale military intervention following the last COBRA meeting on Friday.

But the Taliban — banned in Russia as a terrorist organisation — had already entered the Afghan capital Kabul in the morning with no resistance from the US-trained and equipped army. Their leader, Mullah Abdul Baradar, is reportedly set to be declared president after the resignation of US-backed incumbent Ashraf Ghani, while US military helicopters evacuate their embassy amid images starkly reminiscent of the end of the Vietnam War in 1975.

Members of the Taliban, left, drive with other motorists through city of Herat, Afghanistan, west of Kabul, Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021, after the province was taken from the Afghan government. (AP Photo/Hamed Sarfarazi) - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.08.2021
Watch: Massive Traffic Jam as Afghans Try to Flee Kabul Ahead of Imminent Taliban Takeover
​Sky News reported the parliamentary recall was in response to demands from opposition parties keen to score political points against Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has also faced criticism from several of his own backbenchers.
Official opposition Labour Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy welcomed Johnson's decision, but added: "I suspect that this has taken so long because the government doesn’t have a clear strategy to deal with this".
"That’s what we need to hear from the prime minister this week", Nandy said. "We need to hear that imminently".
Nandy also claimed sources close to Home Secretary Priti Patel had said she was reluctant to grant asylum to Afghan citizens who collaborated with the British Armed Forces during the 20-year US-led occupation of their country "because of the message it would send to refugees in other parts of the world".
"That is utterly shameful, that is not who we are as a country", Nandy insisted. "We need a clear message from the prime minister and a plan in place to make sure those people are evacuated to safety. The Taliban is already targeting them and this will unfold in a matter of hours".
But Suhail Shaheen, the Taliban's spokesman and chief negotiator at talks in Doha, Qatar, denied claims of atrocities as "baseless and vicious propaganda".

© REUTERS / STRINGERA military helicopter prepares to land near the parliament in Kabul
A military helicopter prepares to land near the parliament in Kabul - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.09.2021
A military helicopter prepares to land near the parliament in Kabul

Send the Boys Back In

Meanwhile, three prominent Tory MPs, all former servicemen, urged Johnson to send troops back to Afghanistan in a belated bid to reverse the Taliban's victory. 
House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Tugendhat called the Taliban's return "the biggest single foreign policy disaster" since the 1956 Suez Crisis, claiming that "foreign terrorism" would return to Afghanistan despite peace treaty pledges. 
"It's quite clear that the battle for Afghanistan in that sense is now lost", Tugendhat told Sky News. "It's been an abject defeat and the UK and the United States has been routed. It's been stunning, frankly. But it's a decision we took to withdraw and announce our decision not to fight so perhaps it's not surprising".
Plymouth Moor View MP Johnny Mercer, who served in Afghanistan in the Royal Artillery, said: "We have politically decided to be defeated by the Taliban", calling it a "surrender".

Mercer ​resigned — or was fired — as veterans' minister in April over a decision to allow former British soldiers who served in Northern Ireland to be potentially prosecuted for war crimes there.
The entrance gate of the green zone is pictured after the evacuation in Kabul on August 15, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.08.2021
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Defence Committee Chairman Tobias Ellwood, a longstanding critic of Johnson over his honouring of the 2016 referendum vote to leave the European Union, said the defeat was a "humiliation for the west".
He said that despite former US President Donald Trump's peace treaty with the Taliban — repeatedly violated by new President Joe Biden — the UK and "like-minded nations" could still urge Johnson to send a Royal Navy carrier strike group to intervene in the land-locked country.
"I plead with the Prime Minister to think again. We have an ever-shrinking window of opportunity to recognise where this country is going as a failed state", Ellwood said, even as the Taliban negotiated a transfer of power in Kabul.
"We can turn this around but it requires political will and courage. This is our moment to step forward. We could prevent this, otherwise history will judge us very, very harshly in not stepping in when we could do and allowing the state to fail".
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