In an unprecedented attack on Britain’s NATO allies, Defense Secretary, Ben Wallace, has claimed the Western military alliance had no wish or capacity to maintain a presence in Afghanistan once the US fully withdraws by the end of the month.
In an interview with The Daily Mail (August 08), Wallace claims the UK had tried “desperately” to form a military coalition to support Afghan government forces after the US withdrawal but that NATO allies “refused to take part”.
“We tried a number of like-minded nations. Some said they were keen, but their parliaments weren’t. It became apparent pretty quickly that without the United States as the framework nation it had been, these options were closed off”, Wallace told the Daily Mail.
In yet another unprecedented rhetorical flourish, Wallace was deeply scathing of the United States’ “rotten deal” with the Taliban which has paved the way for the Western military alliance’s retreat from Afghanistan.
“All of us were saddened, from the Prime Minister down, about all the blood and treasure that had been spent, that this was how it was ending”, Wallace added.
Wallace goes even further by claiming the option of a “unilateral” British military presence was “considered” but that ultimately this was deemed “not viable” as it necessitates the UK withdrawing forces from other parts of the world.
Gazing into the distant future, the Defense Secretary pontificated that the UK will “probably” be back in Afghanistan in “ten or 20 years”.
“But acting now is not possible. The damage was done with the [US-Taliban] deal”, Wallace concluded.
Wallace’s comments come on the heels of sweeping Taliban advances across the war-torn country as demonstrated by the fall of provincial centers in a domino effect fashion.
The Defense Secretary’s claims about NATO partners cannot be independently verified, raising the prospect he could be trying to distract attention away from the UK’s humiliating defeat in Afghanistan by way of obfuscation and projection.