US’ Afghanistan Exit May Create New ‘Breeding Grounds’ for Terrorism, Warns UK Defense Secretary
© AP Photo / Rahmat GulAmerican soldiers wait on the tarmac in the Mohammad Agha district of Logar province, eastern of Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017.
© AP Photo / Rahmat Gul
Negotiated under the Trump administration and then pushed back under the Biden White House, US troops now have a deadline to depart from Afghanistan by August 31, just days ahead of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that ultimately prompted the US invasion of the war-torn country.
UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace recently took the opportunity to lambast the US decision to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan, underscoring that the “rotten” pullout agreement constructed by the Trump administration was a complete “mistake.”
Wallace, who has been a vocal critic of the withdrawal deal, addressed the ongoing situation with the UK’s Sky News during talks in which he suggested the US exit may likely create an environment for new extremist groups to emerge.
"I'm absolutely worried that failed states are breeding grounds for those types of people,” Wallace remarked. "Of course I am worried, it is why I said I felt this was not the right time or decision to make because, of course, al-Qaeda will probably come back, certainly would like that type of breeding ground.”
He added that “failed states around the world lead to instability, lead to a security threat to us and our interests."
The agreement to remove American troops from Afghanistan was signed and dotted in 2020, when representatives for the US and the Taliban met in Qatar to sign an “agreement for bringing peace” to the nation after having endured nearly 20 years’ worth of deadly conflict.
At the time, former US President Donald Trump hailed the arrangement, and stated that the initiative proved “the Taliban wants to do something to show we’re not all wasting time.”
“If bad things happen, we’ll go back with a force like no-one’s ever seen,” he stressed at the time.
Recalling Trump’s stances on the withdrawal agreement, Wallace told the outlet that he felt the deal was a complete “mistake,” and that at the end of the day, the “rotten deal … effectively told a Taliban that wasn’t winning that they were winning.”
“It undermined the government of Afghanistan, and now we’re in this position where the Taliban have clearly the momentum across the country,” he added, touching on recent gains the group has made in over a dozen Afghan provinces.
© REUTERS / TALIBAN HANDOUTTaliban fighters record a message after seizing Pul-e- Khumri, capital of Baghlan province, Afghanistan, in this still image taken from a social media video, uploaded August 10, 2021
Taliban fighters record a message after seizing Pul-e- Khumri, capital of Baghlan province, Afghanistan, in this still image taken from a social media video, uploaded August 10, 2021
“We will all as an international community pay the consequences of that [withdrawal agreement], but when the United States as the framework nation took that decision, the way we were all configured, the way we had gone in meant that we had to leave, as well."
Wallace’s remarks come on the heels of Thursday moves by the Biden administration to deploy approximately 3,000 US troops to Afghanistan to assist in the departure of non-essential staffers at the US embassy in Kabul. Incidentally, that announcement came as the UK detailed that it too would be sending troops, 600 to be exact, as part of its own measure to evacuate Britons.