By: The Kabul Times
KABUL: The UK and its allies “reserve the right” to launch new military action in Afghanistan should international terrorism thrive, the British government has said.
According to the UK’s Forces news outlet, defense minister James Heappey has left the door open for military action should “ungoverned spaces” return which pose a threat to the UK homeland or the interests of allies, as well as the option of providing air support to Afghan forces.
Heappey also suggested a review will be carried out into Britain’s military involvement in the country.
Around 750 UK personnel are currently in the country in a non-combat role, as part of a NATO mission, but are expected to withdraw, along with all other foreign troops by Sepember 11.
Heappey, spoke of his first reaction to news that international troops will withdraw later this year:
“Like every other Afghanistan veteran when I heard of NATO’s decision last week, I couldn’t help but ask myself ‘was it all worth it’?”
Forces reported that he did, however, say he hopes there is a successful political outcome in Afghanistan. He told MPs it is “almost certain” that a lasting peace settlement will “involve the Taliban as part of the Afghan government”.
Defence Select Committee chairman Tobias Ellwood meanwhile warned that Afghanistan is “heading towards another civil war” with the Taliban on the rise. He said: “This cannot be the exit strategy we ever envisaged. “Our nation and our military deserve answers.
“So, I request a Chilcot-style inquiry so we can learn the lessons of what went wrong.” Heappey responded: “It’s not for me to agree to such an inquiry right now but one would hope the lessons would be learned.”
Heappey said: “We have reached a point where the military mission has effectively culminated and what remains is a requirement for politics.”
According to Forces, the discussion comes after the head of Britain’s Armed Forces expressed disappointment at US President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan.