ritain’s Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has criticized the US decision to leave Afghanistan as a “mistake” that had given the Taliban “momentum, and said the war-ravaged country was spiralling towards a “failed state”.
In an interview with Sky news agency, Wallace also said that Afghanistan could become the breeding ground for militants such as Al Qaeda which would probably come back.
“I’m absolutely worried that failed states are breeding grounds for those types of people,” Wallace said.
“Al Qaeda will probably come back,” he noted.
He warned that the international community “will probably pay the consequences” of the US decision to withdraw.
Wallace said that Afghanistan’s second biggest city of Kandahar and the town of Lashkar Gah was “pretty much now in the hands of the Taliban.”
Separately, in an interview to BBC, Wallace said that Afghanistan is “heading towards civil war” and that it was likely that poverty and terrorism would increase in the country.
But he said the UK would have the right to intervene if terror plots against it were planned from Afghanistan.
Wallace blamed former US President Donald Trump’s “rotten deal” with the Taliban in 2020 for the withdrawal.
He said around 600 British troops were being sent to Afghanistan to ensure the safe return of about 500 Foreign Office and other UK government officials, along with around 3,000 British citizens working in other roles, such as security guards for aid agencies.
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He said about 2,000 Afghan interpreters and “other people we have an obligation to” would also be transported to the UK, joining about 3,000 who have already been taken out of the country.
“I think we are heading towards a civil war,” he said, adding that as states fail, both poverty and terrorism grows.
His remarks come as participants of the Doha meeting on Afghanistan have called on the Afghan government and the Taliban to accelerate efforts to reach a political settlement and a comprehensive ceasefire, even as the Taliban are making rapid advances, and have captured over 10 provincial capitals.
The Afghan government and the Taliban delegations and special representatives of the UN, US, UK, EU, China, Uzbekistan, Qatar, Pakistan, Germany, Norway, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and India participated in the meeting.
The participants issued a joint statement at the end of the meeting on Thursday.
According to the statement, all participants agreed on the importance of accelerating the Afghan peace process and negotiating a “concrete proposal from both sides”.
The International community also called for an immediate cessation of violence and attacks on the provincial capitals.
They also reiterated that the international community will not recognize any government in Afghanistan that is imposed through a military takeover.