Afghanistan's fate makes West look ‘weak’, says UK minister

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace (C) talks to Chief of the Defense Staff Sir Nicholas Carter. (Photo by AP)

The fate of Afghanistan after a 20-year American-led war means that the “West's resolve” is now perceived as “weak” by adversaries following the military withdrawal from war-torn country, the British defense secretary acknowledges, depicting Russia as an “adversary” for the UK.

Speaking to the BBC TV on Thursday, Ben Wallace said that he was really uneasy about what had transpired in Afghanistan, stressing, "What I'm uncomfortable with is that we have a world order now, where resolve is perceived by our adversaries as weak, the West's resolve.”

"That is something we should all worry about: if the West is seen not to have resolve and it fractures, then our adversaries like Russia find that encouraging," Wallace told LBC radio.

Meanwhile, referring to the rush of thousands of "desperate" people to Kabul Airport to leave the country, Wallace said that the Taliban were letting “everyone” through to the processing center, including the West's personnel.

He said that the UK was planning to call some 2,000 people in the next few days, adding that his government has started to “invest in third country hubs in the region” to help process Afghans.

Before Taliban's retaking of Afghanistan, in an interview with Telegraph in mid-July, Wallace said that the UK will work with Taliban if they come to power, adding, “Whatever the government of the day is, provided it adheres to certain international norms, the UK government will engage with it.”

The West's military engagement in Afghanistan lasted nearly 20 years and cost trillions of dollars of money, and hundreds of thousands of lives in an aim to drive the Taliban out of power. But as the US and its allies withdrew the troops from the war-torn country, the Taliban quickly recaptured its positions in the country.

Former UK Prime Minister Theresa May told the parliament yesterday that Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Joe Biden “did not think that the Taliban was ready or able to take over the control of the country.”

Blaming the government for its dependence on the US, May asked the MPs, “What does it say about NATO if we are entirely dependent on a unilateral decision taken by the United States?”

Earlier this week, Johnson acknowledged in parliament that Britain could not have stayed in Afghanistan “without American might.”


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