Boris Johnson insists Britain is ‘not walking away’ from Afghanistan as he announces end to military mission

The Prime Minister told the Commons that the intervention would end despite the Taliban rapidly gaining territory in the country.

Boris Johnson has insisted that Britain is “not walking away” from Afghanistan as he announced the end of the military mission in the country.

The Prime Minister told MPs in the Commons that the intervention would end despite the Taliban rapidly gaining territory. The intervention claimed the lives of 457 British soldiers.

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A British Army soldier from the 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment secures the helicopter landing strip (HLS) in 2008 during operation Southern Beast in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan (Photo by Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images)
A British Army soldier from the 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment secures the helicopter landing strip (HLS) in 2008 during operation Southern Beast in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan (Photo by Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images)

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At a glance: 5 key points

- Mr Johnson started the announcement by detailing attacks by al-Qaeda, including 9/11, before telling the Commons: “Today, thankfully, the situation is very different.”

- He said that training camps in the country had been destroyed and that the leadership of the terror group “no longer resides in Afghanistan”,while highlighting progress made on educating girls and clearing landmines.

- The Prime Minister confirmed that all British troops “are now returning home”, although would not give a timetable for a withdrawal for security reasons.

- However, he did confirm that most of the remaining 750 UK military trainers with the Nato mission had already left the country.

- The move follows the announcement in April by President Joe Biden that he would withdraw the remaining US forces by the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in September, effectively ending international military involvement in Afghanistan.

What’s been said

“We are not about to turn away nor are we under any illusions about the perils of today’s situation and what may lie ahead.

“We shall use every diplomatic and humanitarian lever to support Afghanistan’s development and stability.

“Of course we will continue to work alongside our Afghan partners against the terrorist threat.”

Boris Johnson

Background

The US and its Nato allies agreed a deal with the Taliban to withdraw all troops from the country in return for the militant group not to allow any extremists, including al-Qaeda, to operate in areas that they control.

However, violence in the country continues to escalate with the Taliban taking more territory and concerns continuing to grow for the future of the capital Kabul.

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