The best shame-faced Defence Secretary Ben Wallace can offer is to claim the mission should be seen as a qualified success because while we were there the main terror threat came from IS in Syria, and not al-Qaeda.
In truth, the events in Afghanistan are not his or Britain’s fault. The withdrawal is a US decision taken by Biden so that he could say the last American forces had been brought home by the 20th anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001.
Mr Wallace contacted other coalition partners to see if they would stay on without the US. But had to conclude, “going it alone does not work”.
Just last month Biden mocked predictions of the Taliban retaking Afghanistan, claiming in typically garbled fashion: “The likelihood there’s going to be the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely.” When that happens his authority will never recover.