Labour MP Chris Bryant called Mr Biden’s remarks about Afghan soldiers “some of the most shameful comments ever from an American president”.
Khalid Mahmood, a Labour MP and former defence minister, said: “The Biden government have just come in and, without looking at what is happening on the ground, have taken a unilateral decision, throwing us and everybody else to the fire.”
Other MPs who served as soldiers also rounded on Mr Biden. Iain Duncan Smith, a former Tory leader, called his comments “shameful”, while Labour MP Dan Jarvis described them as “particularly distasteful and dishonouring”. Tobias Ellwood, a former veterans’ minister, said the US withdrawal was “absolutely the wrong call”.
Leading Conservatives in the Lords also made clear their disapproval. Lord Hammond, a former foreign secretary, said: “When I listen to the US president, I cannot help reaching the conclusion that this decision was made out of a sense of political tidy-mindedness – we need to close a file; we need to draw a line; it has gone on for too long.”
Lord Howard, another former Tory leader, said Mr Biden’s withdrawal “is, and will be seen by history as, a catastrophic mistake which may well prove to be the defining legacy of his presidency”.
The heated rhetoric has thrust the state of the “special relationship” and the Biden-Johnson partnership into the spotlight. The Telegraph understands Mr Johnson had been attempting to get Mr Biden on the phone to discuss Kabul falling from Monday morning. The pair eventually talked at close to 10pm on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, General Sir Nick Carter, the head of the Armed Forces, accused the US of “shattering” the morale of Afghan troops when they stopped air strikes.
A UK defence source insisted the UK and US military were continuing to work closely at Kabul airport in a race against time under way to evacuate people with the Taliban nearby. However, there is concern amongst some in government that the US might soon pull out of the airport, according to Whitehall sources.
Philip Reeker, America’s acting ambassador, went into Downing Street for talks with Will Gelling, Mr Johnson’s foreign policy adviser.
While the day of debate was playing out in Westminster after Parliament was recalled from its summer recess, the Taliban was tightening its grip on Afghanistan. Militants shot dead at least three people after protesters pulled down the group’s banner and raised the Afghan national flag in its place.
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