The former head of the British Secret Intelligence Service (also known as MI6), Sir Alex Younger, has cautioned London and the rest of NATO against neglecting the situation in Afghanistan after the troop withdrawal there ends. In an interview with Sky News, Younger stressed that ignoring future developments in the country would be an "enormous mistake" for the allies.
"The reality is that there are groups there, we've been very successful in disrupting both Daesh [Islamic State] and al-Qaeda. They are on the back foot. But it would be wrong, patently, to claim that they have gone away. And they have the capacity to regenerate", Younger said.
The ex-MI6 chief said that western countries must avoid repeating the mistake they made after the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan in 1989. He argued that after Soviet troops left the country, the West abandoned Afghanistan and did not monitor the situation there, which eventually led to the 9/11 tragedy.
Younger stressed that neglecting the situation in Afghanistan following this year's withdrawal "will lead to more threats on the shores of our country and our allies". He noted, however, that this scenario is not guaranteed and there is a possibility that the Taliban* and the current government in Kabul, installed with the help of the US and its allies, will find common ground.
Still, in the former MI6 chief's opinion, the most likely scenario is a lengthy civil war between the two sides, with neither of them winning. He added that the withdrawal from Afghanistan will inevitably create more opportunities for terror groups like al-Qaeda* to operate in the country than they had during the presence of allied troops in there.
*Taliban and al-Qaeda are terrorist organisations banned in Russia