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Events in Afghanistan present Boris Johnson with his biggest foreign policy challenge yet

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18.08.2021

When Joe Biden addressed Americans on Tuesday declaring little to no regret for the US exit from Afghanistan, the comments were quick to draw international criticism.

Faced with videos of Afghans clinging to planes taking off – with reports of some later falling to their death – his claim that “if anything, the developments of the past week reinforced that ending US military involvement in Afghanistan now was the right decision” left a bad taste in the mouths of those politicians now scrambling to deal with the fallout.

Such was the case here in the UK. The tone did not land well in Westminster with ministers, government aides and Tory MPs unsettled by the comments. “It’s a disgrace,” says one government adviser.

What was clearly a speech aimed at a domestic audience of Americans worn down by years of intervention, sent a clear message that the president may have changed, but the Donald Trump policy of “American first” remains in place.

As the chaos in Afghanistan shows no sign of abating anytime soon, Boris Johnson finds himself facing his biggest foreign policy test since entering 10 Downing Street. Yet the ally usually the closest to the UK on........

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