EXCLUSIVE: A member of the U.K. Parliament questioned how President Biden will reassure the world that the U.S. will honor its international commitments to allies after withdrawing troops from Afghanistan and said he should be concerned how its adversaries are now viewing America.
“The only question to ask him now is what are you going to do next?” Conservative Party MP Tom Tugendhat said during an exclusive interview with Fox News. “What are you going to do to ensure that the alliance is understood to be what it is, which is one based on trust, based on values, and based on the belief that we all know that we’re in this together?”
“There are many people around the world who are currently looking at us, looking at the U.K., looking at NATO, looking at the U.S., of course, and wondering what a commitment means if you’ve spent $2 trillion, if you’ve lost, in your case, nearly two and a half thousand U.S. soldiers … and you still pull out overnight,” Tugendhat, who served a decade in the British Army, told Fox News. “What does that leave as a legacy for others?”
Tugendhat went viral last week after voicing his frustration in the House of Commons over the troop withdrawal.
“This doesn’t need to be defeat, but at the moment, it damn well feels like it,” Tugendhat said at the time. “To see [the U.S.’] commander in chief call into question the courage of men I fought with, to claim that they ran, it’s shameful.”
Since withdrawing the troops, Biden has repeatedly blamed the Afghan army for the Taliban’s almost immediate sweep through the country and into Kabul, saying the nation’s military gave up.
Tugendhat pushed back on Biden’s claim.
“I think it’s essential that we recognize that the Afghan army did fight, and it fought extremely hard,” he told Fox News. “It was betrayed by its leadership, and very sadly it was abandoned by its allies.”
Biden also said last week that he’d “seen no question of our credibility from our allies around the world” following the Afghanistan withdrawal, which has drawn comparisons to the debacle that unfolded in 1975 after the U.S. pulled out of Saigon.
Tugendhat, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, said he’s more concerned with how adversaries are leveraging the chaos ensuing in Afghanistan.
“It doesn’t matter what we think of ourselves, it matters what our enemies think of us,” he told Fox News.
“The Chinese government is currently running propaganda in Taiwan stating that the United States is no longer a strong partner,” Tugendhat said. “If you look at the kind of messaging we’re seeing from al-Shabab in Kenya … they’re saying that this shows the United States can be beaten.”
“The reality is, what we were trying to build in Afghanistan was a forever peace, but that took commitment, and sadly we pulled that commitment out,” he continued.
Tugendhat also questioned what Biden will do to help alleviate the rush of Afghan refugees expected to flood Europe as they seek to escape the Taliban.
“What are you going to do for the refugees?” Tugendhat said. “What are you going to do for those who are seeking refuge around the world?”
Europe faced a flashpoint in 2015 as Syrian refugees flooded into the continent, leading its leaders to be less welcoming in the wake of the looming crisis from Afghanistan. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, meanwhile, vowed to accept 5,000 Afghan refugees into the U.K.