Immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan “no reason”: Former Australian Prime Minister


Former Prime Minister John Howard, who sent Australian troops to Afghanistan with his democratic allies in 2001, questioned the need for the US government to immediately withdraw all troops from the country.

“There was no reason why a very small unit wasn’t left there for an uncertain time,” he told Sky News Australia.

“It would have clearly prevented some of the negative images that came out of Afghanistan and could have made the Afghan army bold.

“I don’t think it was absolutely essential to withdraw all the last soldiers from Afghanistan.”

Howard also said he was critical of setting a date for the withdrawal of US troops by the previous administration, which provided an important point of negotiation.

“I think the date will be carried over. The date was driving the action, not the action that had the final result,” he added. “It was almost inevitable to see what actually happened and the speed at which it happened.”

Marine Expeditionary Unit 24th Marine Corps
Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) Marines distributed water to evacuees during their evacuation at Kabul International Airport on August 21, 2021, during their evacuation in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Isaiah Campbell / US Marine Corps via Getty Images)

The former Prime Minister also supported his decision to join Australian troops in a US-led coalition targeting al-Qaeda and the Taliban in the wake of the 9/11 incident, saying it was “fully justified.”

Howard’s comment comes when his contemporaries, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, criticized the withdrawal.

“The world is now uncertain where the West stands, as it is so clear that the decision to withdraw from Afghanistan was driven by politics rather than grand strategy,” he said. Written in the editorial..

“We did it knowing that there was a real benefit in the last two decades, though worse than imperfect and very fragile, and anyone who disagrees with it, Read from every section of Afghan society a heartbreaking mourning about their fear of being lost now. “

However, experts believe that the United States can focus its efforts on the Indo-Pacific region to counter Beijing’s growing influence and aggression.

“The United States may strengthen security cooperation with Taiwan in retaliation against China, and is likely to consider strengthening defense assistance to Taiwan,” said Shen, an associate professor at the Graduate School of International Strategic Research, Awae University. Mr Minshi said. I told the Epoch Times.

The Afghan system, which was built during the US-led occupation during the 20 years, gave way to the Taliban over the past few weeks after the US withdrew its troops from the country.

The capital Kabul and the presidential residence fell to the Taliban on August 15.

In addition, coordination of withdrawals was problematic, with thousands of Americans, Australians, and allies still stuck in the country.

According to Maj. Gen. William Tailer, about 5,800 US troops remain at Kabul Airport to maintain safety.

The Australian Army has airlifted more than 1,000 people from the country as part of its evacuation efforts.

Meanwhile, current British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has convened an urgent G7 virtual conference to discuss ways to prevent the situation in Afghanistan from deteriorating.

Daniel Y. Ten