Afghanistan conflict 'will impact us for several years' says Mercer
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Conservative MP Johnny Mercer called the US withdrawal was a “huge miscalculation” as governments underestimated the speed at which the Taliban would regain power across Afghanistan. Mr Mercer said it was “humiliating” to watch as the UK and US have essentially “surrendered” to the Taliban and apologised to the Afghan people for the UK’s failure to protect them. The former British Army Officer was then asked his thoughts on the Taliban stating the transition in Afghanistan would be carried out peacefully to which he scoffed and asked “how naive do we want to be?”
Speaking on Sky News, Mr Mercer gave his verdict on the rise of the Taliban following the withdrawal of US troops in accordance with a signed agreement between the US and the Taliban.
Mr Mercer served in the British Army in Afghanistan before entering politics.
He told the programme: “[This is a] real sort of miscalculation, I think, by the UK and the US as to how quickly this was going to happen.
“Obviously, you know, Afghanistan is a very difficult place and there’s no predictability to this but the firmness with the statements from Biden you’ve seen it on that side of the Atlantic.
“We’ve also seen it here that the Afghan security forces wouldn’t collapse that people were worrying unnecessarily about this.
“It’s humiliating to watch for those of us who are trying to get people out it’s pretty hopeless at the moment.”
Mr Mercer was further asked to share what he and fellow veterans must be feeling about the situation.
He added: “It’s not really about me or any one individual, you join the military because you believe in the nation-state and you’re proud of what we do as a nation aboard.
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“We don’t pay £40bn defence budget in order to not leave the gates or not do anything without the Americans.
“The British public don’t expect that, we went to that country to support people who saved our lives and worked with us.
“We have a duty to get these people out, we have a people to extract in an orderly fashion, it’s very hard, I never thought I’d see the day where essentially we’ve surrendered to the Taliban.
“I’m so sorry to the people of Afghanistan and I just urge the UK Government to really step up its efforts in terms of contributing violence to what we’re trying to do.
“We’re not going to get there through diplomatic and other means, we have to protect people who are trying to leave and we have to leave in an orderly fashion.”
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Mr Mercer added the UK Government has “politically chosen to be defeated by the Taliban” and called it “shameful”.
He was then asked his thoughts on a Taliban spokesperson saying the transition would be peaceful and the movement into Kabul would not attack civilians.
He said: “How naive do we want to be, you’ve seen some of the triple three guys, one of the counter-narcotics forces surrendered last week and they were mowed down by the Taliban.
“We should take them seriously, but they are a barbaric force, they will be exploited by people like Russia and China and the geopolitical ramifications of this we will be dealing with the consequences of this for years and years and years.”
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