• Sunday, July 03, 2022

HEADLINE STORY

UK to send 600 troops to help Britons evacuate Afghanistan

Taliban fighters are pictured in a vehicle of Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) on a street in Kandahar on August 13, 2021. (Photo by – / AFP) (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Pooja Shrivastava

UK DEFENCE secretary Ben Wallace said today (13) that Afghanistan is spiralling towards a failed state and “al Qaeda will probably come back”, a day after he announced that the UK will send 600 troops to Afghanistan to help British nationals leave the country as the Taliban continues to seize territories, with Kandahar and Lashkar Gah – the capital of the southern province of Helmand – the latest to fall to the insurgency.

“I’m absolutely worried that failed states are breeding grounds for those types of people. It’s why I felt this was not the right time or decision to make because al-Qaida will probably come back,” Wallace told BBC Breakfast.

Some 4,000 British nationals are estimated to still be in Afghanistan, according to the Foreign Office. Media reports said only a skeleton staff, including ambassador Sir Laurie Bristow, will remain in Kabul.

Most embassy staff, other British nationals, and Afghans who have been given refuge in Britain are among around 3,000 who will be evacuated in an operation that commences at weekend.

While Wallace described the deployment as a “pre-planned phase” to “enable the next step of leaving”, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the additional deployment was “in light of the increasing violence and rapidly deteriorating security environment in the country”.

The cabinet minister also hit out at the deal reached by the former US president Donald Trump and the Taliban in Doha, Qatar, in February 2020, saying the move to withdraw from Afghanistan was a “mistake” and the deal done in Doha was a “rotten deal” 

“We’ll all as the international community probably pay the consequences of that, but when the United States as the framework nation took that decision — meant that we had to leave as well,” Wallace said.

 “At the time of the Trump deal with, obviously the Taliban, I felt that it was a mistake to have done it that way. We will all, in the international community, probably pay the consequences of that,” he said.

Asked if the UK will send troops back to Afghanistan again, Wallace told another media outlet: “I’m going to leave every option open. If the Taliban have a message from last time, you start hosting al Qaeda, you start attacking the West, or countries like that, we could be back.”

 

 

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