Boris Johnson doesn’t want an inquiry into the 20 year long Afghanistan war. In his withdrawal announcement on Thursday 8 July, he said:
I don’t think that that is the right way forward at this stage.
He added that internal investigations had already taken place and mentioned that the Chilcot Report into Iraq had cost millions.
Johnson had already told the Commons Liaison Committee on Wednesday 7 July that he would not comment until the planned announcement on Thursday. However, he did admit during the hearing that he was concerned about the security situation there.
He told the committee:
We have to be absolutely realistic about the situation that we’re in, and what we have to hope is that the blood and treasure spent by this country over decades in protecting the people of Afghanistan has not been in vain.
Meanwhile, the US withdrew the bulk of its remaining forces on 4 July – US Independence Day – in strange circumstances. AP reported that the military forces based at Bagram Airbase left quietly at night. And they didn’t even tell the local Afghan commander they were going. During the early part of the war, Bagram became notorious as a site of US torture.
The suggestion that the UK was ever in the business of protecting Afghans is, of course, contestable. But on the ground, the security situation appears to be spiralling out of control. Reports warn of a quick Taliban advance into new territory and cities.
The western city of Qala-i-Naw was the scene of fierce fighting on 7 July. Taliban forces reportedly captured the local police station before being beaten back by Special Forces.
Neighbouring countries are also concerned. Tajikistan closed its border and mobilised military reserves. Meanwhile Iran hosted talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government. Turkey and Russia also shut consulates in the city of Mazar-i-Sharif in response to Taliban gains locally.
John Chilcot led the last inquiry into a major war; in that case, Iraq. The Chilcot Report was announced in 2009 and was eventually published several years behind schedule in 2016. It was 2.6m words long and made a number of important findings. They included that the military action had not been warranted and that claims about Weapons of Mass Destruction, used to justify the assault, had been made with unjustified confidence.
Then-PM Tony Blair, who also led Britain to war in Afghanistan, faced withering criticism. But the inquiry had no legal powers to bring any of the Iraq War leaders to trial.
It remains to be seen if there will be an inquiry into Afghanistan. But if there is, the 20 year scope of the war is likely to make it even more complex than Chilcot’s investigation into Iraq.
Featured image via EliteForcesUK/Sgt James Elmer.
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?