“There is no military path to victory for the Taliban….I do not believe that the Taliban are guaranteed the kind of victory that we sometimes read about.”

Boris Johnson, House of Commons debate on Afghanistan

July 8, 2021

Facts

In a statement on the UK’s policy towards Afghanistan in a House of Commons parliamentary debate, Boris Johnson said:

“There is no military path to victory for the Taliban. There must be a peaceful and a negotiated settlement for the political crisis in Afghanistan, and the UK will continue to work to ensure that that takes place. I believe that can happen—I do not believe that the Taliban are guaranteed the kind of victory that we sometimes read about.”

Throughout just 10 days in August, the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, taking their first provincial capital on 6 August. By 15 August, they were at the gates of Kabul.

Verdict

On 8th July 2021 Mr Johnson told the House of Commons that “There is no military path to victory for the Taliban.” Six weeks later the Taliban had taken control of Afghanistan. Mr Johnson was telling MPs about his personal belief about the trajectory of events in Afghanistan. In consequence, this statement cannot be said to be false or misleading, even though Johnson’s judgment turned out to be disastrously wrong. It is another example of a clueless statement unconnected with reality from the British Prime Minister about a situation he did not understand.

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