OF all the incompetent mistakes made by Johnson’s government since its Brexit-led election in 2019, its mishandling of the latest Afghanistan human rights catastrophe must rate as possibly its worst.

Also because of our Army’s 40 Commando being based locally in Norton Fitzwarren, and its having served gruelling postings out in Afghanistan over recent decades of US and UK troops deployment, this whole thing means much more to all us Taunton residents.

Everyone expected, as happened, a phased big withdrawal of troops, ending in some well-planned final transition to full control of the country by the present democratically elected government, probably with some negotiated Taliban power-sharing peace settlement.

This current complete capitulation to the Islamic fundamentalists, talking of re-imposition of hand-removing, stoning, beheading Sharia law, is not only a disastrous human rights sell-out, especially for all the girls and women we have led into m

Modern education, work and living, but also a betrayal to our Norton-based troops and our country’s anti-terrorist security into the long-term future.

Troops have died and been horribly maimed in trying to help Afghanistan become a modern state and potential player on the international stage. They are owed at least a detailed explanation – full public inquiry preferably – why phased withdrawal and smooth transition has turned into a panic-stricken 10-day rout, with a fearsome scramble to safely extricate our remaining personnel and Afghan friends. It is no real excuse for Johnson to say we have been forced to follow the footsteps of previous Trump-led Americans, now endorsed by Biden, when our and Nato’s involvement has been almost as crucial.

There has been little, if any, sign of our Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab at his expected full-frontal here and Johnson’s belated appearance, followed by special Cobra and Parliamentary gatherings, is similar to actual concrete actions over climate emergency: probably too little, too late – again!