British soldier served in Afghanistan, MP Tom Tugendhat speech bbc news

Former British soldier lashes out at the United States and the United Kingdom over the Afghanistan exit debacle.

Former British soldier turned Member of Parliament who served in Afghanistan cautions that the Taliban cannot be trusted and warns of the "worse hostage crisis the West has seen in decades," amid rising pleas for humanitarian assistance.

In an interview, Tom Tugendhat, leader of the UK Parliament's influential Foreign Affairs Committee, blasted his own government for making the "biggest foreign policy error the United Kingdom has made since Suez" and claiming that "for the United States, this might be worse than Saigon."

Mr Tugendhat questioned US Vice President Joe Biden's words defending the disorderly withdrawal, as well as the intelligence supporting the US-led pullout.

"He (Mr Biden) sort of stated that it was both predictable and unpredictable," Tonbridge and Malling Tory Member for Tonbridge and Malling explained.

"If it was anticipated, how come this heinous humanitarian calamity occurred? If not, why not?" As a member of a public committee, I do not have access to classified intelligence, but I have read about it. I've communicated with individuals." Everything has been prophesied for years. I'm not clear why he was taken aback when no one else seems to be.

Tom Tugendhat, a former British soldier who became a Member of Parliament, served in Afghanistan.
Tom Tugendhat, a former British soldier who became a Member of Parliament, served in Afghanistan.

The Taliban are attempting to reassure a skeptical public that they have reformed by declaring a "amnesty" and encouraging women to serve in their government.

However, after images of Afghans allegedly being shot at at Kabul's airport by Taliban members went viral, Mr Tugendhat accused the group of carrying out "revenge killings."

"This is an organization that is still carrying out revenge killings in Lashkar Gah and Kandahar despite having sworn not to," he claimed.

"They are doing it, literally as we speak, while their spokesman maintains that they will not do so. They are liars, they are liars, and they are liars.

Mr Tugendhat previously worked as an adviser to the Helmand Province Governor.

"I've been conversing with friends in Lashkar Gah, (Helmand Province). The notion that you could extract someone from Lashkar Gah now is ludicrous "'He stated.

"Before you reach the highway, there are ten checkpoints, and the highway itself has checkpoints all the way to Kabul. You simply will not make it."

Taliban fighters conduct patrols inside Farah, the seat of Farah province south of Kabul.
Taliban fighters conduct patrols inside Farah, the seat of Farah province south of Kabul.
'It's heartbreaking, it's heartbreaking entirely'.

Mr Tugendhat served with Australian troops at Tarin Kowt as a soldier and has long praised his military counterparts on the other side of the planet.

"Australia's involvement throughout the combat phase was critical," he stated.

"I make no attempt to minimize the heroism or resolve of Australian forces or indeed the Australian government in shouldering their share of the load; they were absolutely front and center."

To witness this reopens so many old scars and leaves many of us feeling particularly wounded about how we treat our friends and lovers.

Australia and its allies, particularly the United Kingdom, have attempted to rescue their own people as well as Afghan interpreters who assisted military operations during the war's duration.

Mr Tugendhat was twice targeted by suicide bombers while serving as an adviser to the Governor of Helmand Province.

In one occasion, he claims that his interpreter was the first to inquire for his well-being.

In Helmand Province, Afghanistan, a British Army officer walks toward British Army and Afghan National Civil Police (ANCOP) observation points.
In Helmand Province, Afghanistan, a British Army officer walks toward British Army and Afghan National Civil Police (ANCOP) observation points.
'I believe the invasion of Afghanistan was justified'.

A sentimental Mr Tugendhat stated that the matter was personal, as he "lost friends here."

"I can point to the graves from Poole to Arbroath where I stood by and watched as my friends were lowered into them for this," he explained.

"I can name and picture Afghan soldiers with whom I served, as well as officials in the governor's office who rescued me when I was attacked by suicide bombers."

I can list pals — it's heartbreaking, it's — I'm at a loss for words "'.

He cautioned that the battle in Afghanistan demonstrated the West's need to "re-energise" partnerships.

"We cannot allow a single partner to make a choice that affects everyone without discussing us, as we recently witnessed in Afghanistan. It results in disarray and humanitarian calamities "'He stated.

When asked if the 20-year war, which took thousands of allied soldiers' lives, including 41 Australians, was worthwhile, Mr Tugendhat paused before responding "That is a question for parents and wives, isn't it? Perhaps they will never find it worthwhile."

"I believe it is necessary to defend our ideals. I believe it is proper to defend the British people and to stand with our friends " I believe that the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 was justified. We made every effort."