NEWS
23/08/2021 10:18 BST

Boris Johnson's Latest Efforts To Tackle The Afghanistan Crisis Have Not Gone Down Well

The prime minister will be hosting a G7 meeting about the Taliban takeover more than a week after it happened.

GLYN KIRK via Getty Images
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves Downing Street in central London on August 18, 2021

Boris Johnson has finally announced he will hosting a G7 meeting about the Afghanistan crisis more than a week after the Taliban took control of the country.

The prime minister was warned the Taliban were on the cusp of declaring victory in Kabul last Saturday, yet he still decided to go to Somerset on holiday.

He has now confirmed he will be holding a G7 meeting on Tuesday about the escalating crisis, promising to “support the Afghan people” and “secure the gains of the last 20 years”.

This meeting could to be critical to the situation in Afghanistan, as Johnson is expected to ask US President Joe Biden to delay the withdrawal of American troops from the war-torn country while the leaders also discuss potential sanctions against the Taliban.

Biden reportedly refused to talk to Johnson for the first 36 hours of the Taliban’s takeover, before they managed to have a phone call where they agreed to hold a virtual meeting for the G7 leaders a week later.

But for many, this meeting has come too late.

Labour MP Alex Cunningham tweeted: “Why has this taken so long – doubtless somebody’s holiday got in the way?”

Cunningham’s words echoed the general message of an open letter Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer wrote on Sunday where he noted his “concern about the lack of foresight and planning undertaken” with the evacuation programme.

Another Twitter account pointed out: “Governments have made a real mess in Afghanistan. How is it that the Taliban have raised an army under our noses powerful enough to take back the country?”

Another critic even photoshopped the tweet to mock Johnson, and changing the wording so it read: “I will convene G7 leaders on Tuesday for urgent talks on the situation with the open stable door.

“It is vital that the international community works together to ensure the horse doesn’t bolt after 20 years of a secure stable door.”

One account asked: “Why didn’t this get discussed in detail at the last G7 meeting that Johnson was responsible for?

“The withdrawal from Afghanistan has been known about for the 18 months since Trump signed an agreement on it with the Taliban.”

The last G7 meeting took place in person in Cornwall, between June 11 and 13, and was hosted by Johnson. 

Former US President Donald Trump promised the Taliban he would withdraw American troops from Afghanistan back in February 2020.

The delay was ridiculed by others too, with one account asking: “As the UK are head of the G7 this year maybe he could have demanded that meeting on Sunday. Any leaders who declined could be named and their reasons why declared. Therefore giving people a better understanding.”

Some did side with the prime minister though, and claimed he was “the only leader showing leadership”.