UK received ‘good consultation’ on US withdrawal from Afghanistan, says Raab

Welsh Cavalry in Afghanistan
Welsh Cavalry in Afghanistan (PA Archive)
20:35pm, Mon 03 May 2021
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Dominic Raab has insisted the UK received “good consultation” from the US on its decision to remove troops from Afghanistan amid talks on security with Joe Biden’s secretary of state.

The Foreign Secretary met with his American counterpart Antony Blinken in London on Monday, ahead of the first G7 foreign ministers meeting in more than two years.

Mr Raab said the two discussed a “whole range of security issues” including Afghanistan, following an announcement by Mr Biden last month that the remaining 2,500 US troops in the country would leave by September 11.

G7 foreign ministers meeting (PA Wire)

Other Nato allies confirmed that they would follow suit, including the UK, which is to begin withdrawing its remaining 750 military trainers this month.

General Sir Nick Carter, the Chief of the Defence Staff, said last month that the announcement was “not a decision we hoped for” although the UK respected the view taken by the new administration.

Asked about about the exit of troops, Mr Raab told a joint Downing Street press conference: “On Afghanistan, just to be clear from a UK perspective, we do not feel ignored by US partners.

“We have had very good consultation on this and we continued that, we discussed it today.

“We certainly see the priority is protecting our troops in the period between now and September, making sure that we preserve the ability to deal with counter-terrorism, the gains that were hard won in Afghanistan are not lost.

“And also ultimately promoting dialogue and a peace process that benefits all Afghans and leaves Afghanistan as stable as possible, as inclusive as possible.”

Mr Blinken added: “As we worked toward the decision that President Biden made, we spent a good deal of time very actively consulting with our Nato partners and Nato allies.”

Speaking about the US and UK, Mr Blinken said the two countries were connected by “ties of friendship, family, history, shared values, and shared sacrifice”.

“We’ve been reminded of that again in recent weeks as we prepare to draw down our forces from Afghanistan,” he told the press conference.

“We’ve stood shoulder to shoulder for nearly 20 years, sharing a mission and having each others’ backs. We’ll never forget it.”

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