A FORMER MP, who was a member of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee, has issued a scathing attack on the British and American governments saying they have betrayed the people of Afghanistan.

Sir Bob Russell, Colchester’s former MP who visited British troops three times at Camp Bastion in Helmand Province, said no country will ever again trust the British and Americans again after their withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

He said: “Afghanistan, whose decent people have been abandoned by nations it thought were their friends and liberators, reverts back to a failed state where medieval barbarity is part of what is regarded as daily life, with females in particular treated appallingly.

“Terrorist activity will once again flourish and, as before, will be exported to Western democracies including Britain.

“That is why we went there 20 years ago, to stop terrorism and that was largely achieved.

“All that effort has now been wasted.”

Gazette: Sir Bob RussellSir Bob Russell

Sir Bob, who was a member of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee, added: “The mere presence of Allied military contained the evil that had existed in Afghanistan.

“While former US President Trump can be blamed for ordering the withdrawal of American forces, this could have been cancelled by President Biden.

“But Biden, along with British Prime Minister Johnson, are responsible for what is now happening.

“Johnson and Biden have thrown away all the good that was achieved by our brave military personnel, particularly those who gave their lives but also those who served and many of whom suffered injuries.

“Our forces gave hope for Afghanistan and a better world. American and British political leaders have taken away that hope.”

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Conservative MP John Baron has called for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to apologise to the families of people who died in Afghanistan.

Mr Baron, MP for Basildon and Billericay, who said he was the only Tory MP to oppose intervention in Afghanistan and voted against it in 2010, has been consistently critical of the campaign.

He said: “The fundamental error was allowing the initial limited and successful mission of expelling al Qaida from Afghanistan in 2001 to morph into the much wider mission of nation-building in the following years, which meant we had to take on the Taliban.

“This wider mission was born of ignorance, was unrealistic in its aims, poorly executed and thoroughly under-resourced, even the withdrawal is a shambles.

“Our intervention now brings its responsibilities. In addition to getting our nationals out safely, the international community must now stand by those fleeing the country in fear of their lives, including those who helped British forces.

“As a country, we need to do our bit to reach out and welcome the refugees and asylum-seekers. The priority now is to save lives.

“The Prime Minister should apologise to the bereaved families of service personnel, and to those personnel who are still paying the price for this folly.”

“We also need to examine the lessons from yet another foolhardy intervention – for example, while always maintaining our guard against terrorism, it has distracted us from the bigger threat of hostile nation states.”

He was joined in his condemnation by former defence minister Tobias Ellwood, the Tory MP for Bournemouth East.

Mr Ellwood described chaotic scenes at Kabul airport – as people tried to flee the country – as “Saigon 2.0”, referencing evacuations in 1975 as the North Vietnamese army captured the city and ended the Vietnam War.

Mr Ellwood, a former British Army captain and current chairman of the Defence Select Committee, tweeted: “Chaotic exodus from Kabul airport. Apaches (helicopters) used to clear the runway.

“If this is not Saigon 2.0 I don’t know what is. Is this how we thought we’d depart Afghanistan? I repeat my call for a UK inquiry.”

Tory MP and former defence minister Johnny Mercer, who served in Afghanistan, tweeted that ministers need to “take responsibility” and Afghanistan “deserved better than the nil response this weekend”.

Pressure has been mounting on the UK Government over the withdrawal of troops from the country, and Parliament will be recalled on Wednesday so MPs can discuss the crisis.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “We will do everything we can to bring as many people out as possible.”

He acknowledged the Taliban “are in control” of Afghanistan, and there is a sense of sadness at the recent events.

He told Sky News: “I think we all saw that and felt a real sense of sadness that, first of all, the forces that the British and the international community had invested in had melted away in some areas so quickly.

“You don’t fix things overnight in global issues, you have to manage them… when that deal was done a few years ago, what happened was ultimately we undermined the community – the deal undermined the Afghan government and left it in a place that ultimately saw the end… the river flows fastest towards the end and that is what we saw yesterday and it’s what we’re seeing in our pictures today.

“My job as Defence Secretary is to make sure that we protect not only the UK nationals, but those Afghans we have an obligation to, that is actually why we’re in the country.

“For the last few weeks we’ve been in the country solely to process those people and to make sure we protect our officials doing that job and we’ll continue to do so.”