UK's role put into question amid brewing Afghanistan crisis
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Ben Wallace was grilled on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme over whether the redeployment of British forces to Afghanistan would be considered to combat international terrorism. The Defence Secretary was asked if the UK Government would commit to combat operations in the war-torn country in the event the chaos leads to the rise of Al-Queda or the return of another violent terrorist group to the region.
Mr Wallace told the Today Programme: “If you want to cut out the short-term threat globally, wherever Britain has a threat to her interests and her people, we have a global counter-terrorism capability.
“It is obviously not as perfect as being based in a country as we have been in Afghanistan but we retain military capability to deal with a threat where we face it or we have to deal with it under international law.
“If there is an imminent threat emanating anywhere in the world. Britain, the United States, France, other countries have a capability to deal with that.”
He added: “I will always deploy either force or disruptive capabilities alongside other parts of the British state – or indeed a coalition – to protect our national security and our interests. We will always do that, we will reserve the right to do it, and that is a global capability.”
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Speaking to Sky News earlier, the Defence Secretay had admitted to fears that Afghanistan could become a “breeding ground” for extremist groups.
He said: “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.”
“I think the deal that was done in Doha was a rotten deal,” added the Tory MP.
“It effectively told a Taliban that wasn’t winning that they were winning, and it undermined the government of Afghanistan and now we’re in this position where the Taliban have clearly the momentum across the country.”
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It comes as President Biden‘s Afghan policy was heavily criticised by the Heritage Foundation Vice President for National Security James Carafano for sparking a “human catastrophe.”
A string of regional capitals in Afghanistan have fallen to Taliban forces this week as the central government in Kabul struggles to hold onto large swathes of territory.
“Because it was not 2500 per se, it was that 2500 scared the hell out of the Taliban and they knew if they violated all of the agreements that they made, that the US still had the capacity and the will to strike back.
“Biden took that off the table and ever since then chaos has erupted.”
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